War Poetry....

Looking for a reading or poem not sure which really.

It is the tale of number of troops playing cards in a train depot awaiting the arrive of new troops. Turns out it's heavens depot where they are awaiting on those who have just been killed in battle.

I only read it once while in Afghanistan. Don't remember the name or who sent it to me...
Any help will be appreciated.
 

Arte_et_Marte

ADC
Moderator
Looking for a reading or poem not sure which really.

It is the tale of number of troops playing cards in a train depot awaiting the arrive of new troops. Turns out it's heavens depot where they are awaiting on those who have just been killed in battle.

I only read it once while in Afghanistan. Don't remember the name or who sent it to me...
Any help will be appreciated.
Not a poem, but sounds very much a sketch in the classic anti- war novel 'Johnny got his gun' by Dalton Trumbo.

 
Not Kipling or anyone famous, but I just discovered this extract of poetry written by my Grandad who served in both World Wars, this is from the First:


Have you ever been out on a listening post with the dead around you laying?
Where the wind, as it sighed through the rustling grass, made you think 'twas the poor dead crying;
Where the star shell soared from the German trench to fall and died out with a splutter;
While away on the right, through the stilly night, you could hear the machine gun stutter.

Have you ever been out in front of a trench, doing a job of wiring,
And you'd hardly started the blasted job, when the Bosch, he started firing;
And you worked in the dark at the blasted wire, 'til your hands were bloody and torn;
And you cursed the war and the damned barbed wire and you wished you'd never been born.
There's an online centenary project (by the IWM?) to collect real memories from those who fought in WW1. Ideal subject matter, I would have thought.
 

DITA

MIA
There's an online centenary project (by the IWM?) to collect real memories from those who fought in WW1. Ideal subject matter, I would have thought.
Cheers Stonker, I'm getting the books from my mum next time I'm in York, so will definitely ask her about it, and if she minds me uploading them.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
Before Action
By all the glories of the day
And the cool evening's benison,
By that last sunset touch that lay
Upon hills when day is done,
By beauty lavishly outpoured
And blessings carelessly received,
By all the days I have ever lived
Make me a better soldier, Lord

By all of man's hopes and fears,
And all the wonders poets sing,
The laughter of uunclouded years,
And every sad and lovely thing;
By the romantic ages stored
With high endeavour that was his,
By all his mmad catastophes
Make mme a better man,Oh Lord

I, that on my familiar hill
Saw with uncomprehending eyes
A hundred of Thy sunset spill
Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice,
Ere the sun swings his noonday sward
Must say good-bye to all of this;
By all the delights that I shall miss,
Help me to die, Oh Lord.

Lt Noel Hodgson aged 23
9th Devonshire Regt.
Two days after writing the poem Hodgson was killed at Mametz Wood by a machinegun bullet through the neck
 
D

Deleted 20555

Guest
Me that 'ave been what I've been --
Me that 'ave gone where I've gone --
Me that 'ave seen what I've seen --
'Ow can I ever take on
With awful old England again,
An' 'ouses both sides of the street,
And 'edges two sides of the lane,
And the parson an' gentry between,
An' touchin' my 'at when we meet --
Me that 'ave been what I've been?

Me that 'ave watched 'arf a world
'Eave up all shiny with dew,
Kopje on kop to the sun,
An' as soon as the mist let 'em through
Our 'elios winkin' like fun --
Three sides of a ninety-mile square,
Over valleys as big as a shire --
"Are ye there? Are ye there? Are ye there?"
An' then the blind drum of our fire . . .
An' I'm rollin' 'is lawns for the Squire,
Me!

Me that 'ave rode through the dark
Forty mile, often, on end,
Along the Ma'ollisberg Range,
With only the stars for my mark
An' only the night for my friend,
An' things runnin' off as you pass,
An' things jumpin' up in the grass,
An' the silence, the shine an' the size
Of the 'igh, unexpressible skies --
I am takin' some letters almost
As much as a mile to the post,
An' "mind you come back with the change!"
Me!

Me that saw Barberton took
When we dropped through the clouds on their 'ead,
An' they 'ove the guns over and fled --
Me that was through Di'mond 'Ill,
An' Pieters an' Springs an' Belfast --
From Dundee to Vereeniging all --
Me that stuck out to the last
(An' five bloomin' bars on my chest) --
I am doin' my Sunday-school best,
By the 'elp of the Squire an' 'is wife
(Not to mention the 'ousemaid an' cook),
To come in an' 'ands up an' be still,
An' honestly work for my bread,
My livin' in that state of life
To which it shall please God to call
Me!

Me that 'ave followed my trade
In the place where the Lightnin's are made;
'Twixt the Rains and the Sun and the Moon --
Me that lay down an' got up
Three years with the sky for my roof --
That 'ave ridden my 'unger an' thirst
Six thousand raw mile on the hoof,
With the Vaal and the Orange for cup,
An' the Brandwater Basin for dish, --
Oh! it's 'ard to be'ave as they wish
(Too 'ard, an' a little too soon),
I'll 'ave to think over it first --
Me!

I will arise an' get 'ence --
I will trek South and make sure
If it's only my fancy or not
That the sunshine of England is pale,
And the breezes of England are stale,
An' there's something' gone small with the lot.
For I know of a sun an' a wind,
An' some plains and a mountain be'ind,
An' some graves by a barb-wire fence,
An' a Dutchman I've fought 'oo might give
Me a job where I ever inclined
To look in an' offsaddle an' live
Where there's neither a road nor a tree --
But only my Maker an' me,
And I think it will kill me or cure,
So I think I will go there an' see.

Kipling
 
D-Day

We embark on the landing craft, and race to the shore,
with stomach churning, not knowing what's in store.

As the ramp goes down with a splash, we dash up the beach,
trying to reach the breach.

The air is full of call's for Mother, medics, and stores, as in so many war's.

The sounds of explosions rings in our ears as we try to suppress our fears,
we see a Sherman grinding through its gears,

we'll remember this day for many years.

Reflection

As I wait in a room surrounded by youth, I start to think of my youth,
I think of times gone by, and how time fly's by,

I begin to feel a tear in my eye, for my youth has gone by, in the blink of an eye.

The Bus

As I see another sunrise over the mountain, I think of the days I'm counting
until my tour is over and I don't have to look round every corner.

The enemy set traps for us as they think their better than us, but we carry on,
without a fuss but many a cuss, as they try to kill us,

before we get on the bus.
 
Where Soldiers Shine
Across the fields where poppies grow,
Chaos and pain death did sow.
Where brothers lay side by side,
We will never forget their painful pride.

Their country called men to war,
No one knew how long or what for.
When the trumpet sounded they stood their ground,
Their bravery and honor still resounds.

As each deadly victory was won,
Next morn each time, rose a bright red sun.
The sad lament as the widows walked by,
Singing to the heavens, looking to the sky.

For we know a light cannot hide,
It can be a thorn in darkness side.
The streets were littered with starving people,
All outside the broken steeples.

So what do I do, what's my plan,
I have no clue where my path may pan.
My country has called the brave and proud,
I've heard my name called aloud.

This may be it, is it my cue,
Is it in blood and sweat were made anew.
I'll go to war peace and all,
In hope our people never fall.
by C. J Lucas
 

Gray -Grunt

Clanker
War
There's a soul in the Eternal,
Standing stiff before the King. When there ain't no gal to kiss you,
And the postman seems to miss you,
And the fags have skipped an issue,
Carry on.

When you’ve got an empty belly,
And the bully’s rotten smelly,
And you're shivering like a jelly,
Carry on.

When the Boche has done your chum in,
And the sergeant's done the rum in,
And there ain't no rations cumin',
Carry on.

When the world is red and reeking,
And the shrapnel shells are shrieking,
And your blood is slowly leaking,
Carry on.

When the broken battered trenches,
Are like the bloody butchers' benches,
And the air is thick with stenches,
Carry on.

Carry on,
Though your pals are pale and wan,
And the hope of life is gone,
Carry on.
For to do more than you can,
Is to be a British man,
Not a rotten 'also ran,'
Carry on.. Sorry don't who wrote it
obvious WW 1
 

Gray -Grunt

Clanker
What about some old favorites from the peninsular war

WHAT MANNER OF MEN!

The devil at the table prepared to dine. Said where is death, he is past his time: He knows our rule that we dine at ten, and he merely went to make cowards of men.

Then a stir was heard outside his gate, soon death limped in to his hall of state, with broken scythe, his beard awry, and terror that shone from fear-limned eye.

And the devil roared with all is might: what happened that thou art in such plight? Hart felt the weight of some heavy hand that thou in such mortal terror stand?

Thy orders, said death, were but show my face, and they’d blanch, these men of inferior race, but they hurled me forth, with my neck nigh out, to the devil with death, I heard them shout.

What manner of mortal can these be, said the devil, to make such a sport of thee? As the old man tenderly smoothed his hide, they’re the men of Albuhera sire he cried.

But you’ll make them fear us, the devil roared
ere again you sit and sup at board. Then I sup no more, old death replied, for as I left them, they laughed and died
 
Watching the BBC " World at War " series recently heard , again , this poem narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier .... " Wait for me " .... and if already posted on this thread it still deserves a re-post ...

 

Gray -Grunt

Clanker
THE PRIVATE OF THE BUFFS

Sir Francis Doyle


Last night, among his fellow roughs,
He jested, quaffed and swore,
A drunken private of the Buffs,
Who never looked before.
Today, beneath the foeman’s frown
He stands in Elgin’s place,
Ambassador from Britain’s Crown
And type of all her race.

Poor, reckless, rude, low-born, untaught,
Bewildered and alone.
A heart, with English instinct fraught,
He yet can call his own.
Aye, tear his body limb from limb,
Bring cord, or axe, or flame;
He only knows that not through him
Shall England come to shame.

Far Kentish hop fields round him seem’d
Like dreams, to come and go;
Bright leagues of cherry blossom gleam’d,
One sheet of living snow;
The smoke above his father’s door
In grey soft eddyings hung.
Must he then watch it rise no more,
Doomed by himself so young?

Yes, honour calls! With strength like steel
He puts the vision by.
Let dusky Indians whine and kneel;
An English lad must die.
And thus, with eyes that would not shrink,
With knee to man unbent,
Unfaltering on its dreadful brink
To his red grave he went.

Vain, mightiest fleets of iron framed;
Vain, those all-shattering guns;
Unless proud England keep, untamed
The strong heart of her sons.
So, let his name through England ring –
A man of mean estate,
Who died, as firm as Sparta’s King
Because his soul was great.
 

Gray -Grunt

Clanker
If this one has been done before I'm sorry

IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
HE LIVED ALL ALONE
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE.
I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE
AND TO SEE JUST WHO IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT, A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE.
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS, NOT EVEN A TREE.
NO STOCKING BY THE MANTLE, JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES OF FAR DISTANT LANDS,
WITH MEDALS AND BADGES, AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT, IT WAS DARK AND DREARY.
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER, ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.
THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING, SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE, THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED A LONE BRITISH SOLDIER.
WAS THIS THE HERO OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO, THE FLOOR FOR A BED.

I REALISED THE FAMILIES THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.
SOON, ROUND THE WORLD, THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOY FREEDOM EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS, LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.
I COULDN'T HELP WONDER HOW MANY ALONE
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGH BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES AND STARTED TO CRY.
THE SOLDIER AWAKENED AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
'SANTA DON'T CRY, THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE.
I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM; I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD, MY COUNTRY, AND MY CORPS.’

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN'T CONTROL IT, I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS, SO SILENT AND STILL,
AND WE BOTH SAT AND SHIVERED FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.
I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE ON THAT COLD DARK NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOUR SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER, WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, 'CARRY ON SANTA, IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.'
ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT,
'MERRY CHRISTMAS, MY FRIEND, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.'



Wrong time of the year i know
 
Simon Armitage - The Not Dead

We are the not dead.
In battle, life would not say goodbye to us.
And crack-shot snipers seemed to turn a blind eye to us.
And even though guns and grenades let fly at us
we somehow survived.

We are the not dead.
When we were young and fully alive for her,
we worshipped Britannia.
We the undersigned
put our names on the line for her.
From the day we were born we were loaded and primed for her.
Prepared as we were, though, to lie down and die for her,
we somehow survived.

So why did she cheat on us?
Didn’t we come running when she most needed us?
When tub-thumping preachers
and bullet-brained leaders
gave solemn oaths and stirring speeches
then fisted the air and pointed eastwards,
didn’t we turn our backs on our nearest and dearest?
From runways and slipways Britannia cheered us,
but returning home refused to meet us,
sent out a crowd of back-biting jeerers
and mealy-mouthed sneerers.
Two-timing, two-faced Britannia deceived us.

We are morbidly ill.
Soldiers with nothing but time to kill,
we idle now in everyday clothes and ordinary towns,
blowing up, breaking down.
If we dive for cover or wake in a heap,
Britannia, from horseback, now crosses the street
or looks right through us.
We seem changed and ghostly to those who knew us.
The country which flew the red white and blue for us
now shows her true colours.

We are the not dead.
Neither happy and proud
with a bar-code of medals across the heart
nor laid in a box and draped in a flag,
we wander this no man’s land instead,
creatures of a different stripe – the awkward, unwanted, unlovable type –
haunted with fears and guilt,
wounded in spirit and mind.

So what shall we do with the not dead and all of his kind?
 

The_Snail

ADC
RIP
If this one has been done before I'm sorry

IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
HE LIVED ALL ALONE
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE
.
I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE
AND TO SEE JUST WHO IN THIS HOME DID LIVE
.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT, A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE.
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS, NOT EVEN A TREE.
NO STOCKING BY THE MANTLE, JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES OF FAR DISTANT LANDS,
WITH MEDALS AND BADGES, AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT, IT WAS DARK AND DREARY.
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER, ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.
THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING, SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE, THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED A LONE BRITISH SOLDIER.
WAS THIS THE HERO OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO, THE FLOOR FOR A BED.

I REALISED THE FAMILIES THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT
.
SOON, ROUND THE WORLD, THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOY FREEDOM EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS
, LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.
I COULDN'T HELP WONDER HOW MANY ALONE
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME
.

THE VERY THOUGH BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES AND STARTED TO CRY.
THE SOLDIER AWAKENED AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
'SANTA DON'T CRY, THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE.
I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM; I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD, MY COUNTRY, AND MY CORPS.’

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN'T CONTROL IT, I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS, SO SILENT AND STILL,
AND WE BOTH SAT AND SHIVERED FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.
I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE ON THAT COLD DARK NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOUR SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER, WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, 'CARRY ON SANTA, IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.'
ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT,
'MERRY CHRISTMAS, MY FRIEND, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.'



Wrong time of the year i know
You deserve a right kicking, you know that, don't you? :threaten: :x:x:skull:
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night --
Ten to make and the match to win --
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

The sand of the desert is sodden red, --
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; --
The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of schoolboy rallies the ranks,
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

This is the word that year by year
While in her place the School is set
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind --
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"


  • "Vitaï Lampada" by Sir Henry Newbolt
 
Yeates. Said to be for an Irish Airman Major Robert Gregory. One of a group of RFC men McCudden, McElroy, Mannock, though not all native born, proud of their heritage, and who loved the air. They surely slipped the surly bonds, danced sunlit skies before they fell.

I know that I shall meet my fate,
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltarten Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
 
The last one was a bit long winded, personally I prefer this one, particularly the last two verses...

A Salute to The Engineers, Rudyard Kipling

Now the Lord of the Realm has glorified the Charge of the Light Brigade,
And the thin red line of the Infantry, when will their glory fade?
There are robust rhymes on the British Tar and classics on Musketeers,
But I shall sing, till your eardrums ring, of the Muddy Old Engineers.

Now it's all very fair to fly through the air, or humour a heavy gun,
Or ride in tanks through the broken ranks of the crushed and shattered Hun.
And its nice to think when the U-Boats sink of the glory that outlives the years,
But whoever heard an haunting word for the Muddy Old Engineers?

Now you musn't feel, when you read this spiel, that the sapper is a jealous knave,
That he joined the ranks for a vote of thanks in search of a hero's grave
No your mechanised cavalrys' quite alright and your Tommy has drained few peers,
But where in hell would the lot of them be, if it weren't for the Engineers,

Oh they look like tramps but they build your camps and sometimes lead the advance,
And they sweat red blood to bridge the flood to give you a fighting chance
Who stays behind when its getting hot, to blow up the roads in the rear?
Just tell your wife she owes your life to some Muddy Old Engineer,
Some dusty, crusty, croaking, joking Muddy Old Engineer.

No fancy crest is pinned to their chest, if you read what their cap badge says,
Why 'Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense' is a queersome sort of praise,
But their modest claim to immortal fame has probably reached your ears,
The first to arrive, the last to leave, the Muddy Old Engineers,
The sweating, go getting, uproarious, glorious Muddy Old Engineers.

My father an old Sapper who served from 1948 to 1984 is at the end of his life and we are on standby to march him off. As eldest son I am looking at putting together an order of service and ARSSE has come up trumps, this will do nicely for an old Combat Engineer.
 

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