War Poetry....

Through the driving sleet
he saw no movement.

Shifting, foot to foot,
thick mud beneath.

Dark, wet, and cold,
So very very cold.

And when his watch
at last was done.

In that cold wet mud he lay,
and in an instant, asleep.
 
For Whom the Bell Tolls
by John Donne


No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
 
George Peele. 1558?–97

102. A Farewell to Arms
(To Queen Elizabeth)

HIS golden locks Time hath to silver turn'd;
O Time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing!
His youth 'gainst time and age hath ever spurn'd,
But spurn'd in vain; youth waneth by increasing:
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen; 5
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.

His helmet now shall make a hive for bees;
And, lovers' sonnets turn'd to holy psalms,
A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees,
And feed on prayers, which are Age his alms: 10
But though from court to cottage he depart,
His Saint is sure of his unspotted heart.

And when he saddest sits in homely cell,
He'll teach his swains this carol for a song,—
'Blest be the hearts that wish my sovereign well, 15
Curst be the souls that think her any wrong.'
Goddess, allow this agèd man his right
To be your beadsman now that was your knight.



 
“Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods”

― Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome
 

ericferret

War Hero
Not specifically a war poem but it has the feel of one.

Dylan Thomas.





Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

'Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.'
 
One of John Pudney's poems reflecting the absence of a body to bury when service personnel are killed at or above the sea -

Missing, Believed Killed.

Less said the better.
The bill unpaid, the dead letter.
No roses at the end
Of Smith, my friend.

Last words don’t matter,
And there are none to flatter.
Words will not fill the post
Of Smith, the ghost.

For Smith, our brother,
only son of a loving mother,
The ocean lifted, stirred,
Leaving no word.
 
One of John Pudney's poems reflecting the absence of a body to bury when service personnel are killed at or above the sea -

Missing, Believed Killed.

Less said the better.
The bill unpaid, the dead letter.
No roses at the end
Of Smith, my friend.

Last words don’t matter,
And there are none to flatter.
Words will not fill the post
Of Smith, the ghost.

For Smith, our brother,
only son of a loving mother,
The ocean lifted, stirred,
Leaving no word.
Oof that's dry
 

Hexi Bloke

Old-Salt
THE ANGEL OF DEATH (Former Republic of Yugoslavia)

The Angel of Death rose up to the sky with a satisfied grin on her face,
the anguish, the carnage, the stench of death,
she’s truly has ruined this place.

The neighbours, once friends with foundations of old, had torn each other apart,
the community gone, just a desolate place where the Angel had ripped out it’s heart.

I sat on a hill and looked down on the place, the smoke spiralled up from the heap,
the mortars rang out and the snipers took aim and played Russian Roulette on the streets.

The screams and the shouts were muffled by thumps of the tanks as they sat on the hill.
The Commanders sat patient, their eyes ever watching awaiting the perfect kill.

My rifle gripped tight, I called in the news as troops advanced over the stream,
another town lost to the rag tag brigade with the Angel guiding their feet,
they tore through the town, through houses of friends, the Angel instructing their death.

They raped and they killed and the Angel looked on, satisfaction all over her face.
My heart felt heavy, the tears welled up, I felt empty and weak as I stood,
watching babies, and mothers, the old and the town stained with their blood.

I jumped with a start as my earpiece rang out,
‘intervention required at once’.
My weapon was cocked as I raced down the hill with my Section behind as support.

As we neared the town the Angel looked down and considered the newcomer’s fate,
should the sniper take aim, should the mortars rain down and deliver them up to the gate?

I dodged through the streets, my life in her hands, the adrenalin pushing me on, to the screams of the girl, to the cries of the child through the mud, through the blood to beyond.

As I came to a junction I looked to my left, I heard a young girl scream,
the girl fought back, so small and so weak, she made the soldier bleed.
His pride took over as his pistol was drawn and the Angle swooped down for her feed.

‘STOP, OR I FIRE’, I called to the group, the Angel stopped in mid flight,
I dropped to one knee, brought my rifle to bear and focused my aim through the sight.

They turned all at once; I could see in their eyes the Angel had gripped them within.
I waited forever but nobody moved, a stalemate where no one could win.

I shifted position, the cramp set in and adrenalin coursed through my veins. The fear hung close, the sweat stung my eyes and the soldier retreated a pace.

I slowly stood up with my aim held true and repeated my warning again,
I was ready to fire, to take a man down, to end his life there and then.


Our fate was decided with the roll of a dice as the Angel looked on with a grin, I started to shiver and the cold wind took hold and fear took over again,

the Angel swooped down with a scream so loud that the soldier ducked out of the way,
my rifle kicked back and the rounds took hold and his spirit was lifted away.

The others looked on, their weapons fell limp, one of their own was gone,
with the girl at their feet they turned to retreat and abandon their fight for today.

I ran to the girl as I shook with fear and dragged her away from the death,
she survived today, and tomorrow would play the Angel of Death once again.


___________________________________________________________
 
THE ANGEL OF DEATH (Former Republic of Yugoslavia)

The Angel of Death rose up to the sky with a satisfied grin on her face,
the anguish, the carnage, the stench of death,
she’s truly has ruined this place.

The neighbours, once friends with foundations of old, had torn each other apart,
the community gone, just a desolate place where the Angel had ripped out it’s heart.

I sat on a hill and looked down on the place, the smoke spiralled up from the heap,
the mortars rang out and the snipers took aim and played Russian Roulette on the streets.

The screams and the shouts were muffled by thumps of the tanks as they sat on the hill.
The Commanders sat patient, their eyes ever watching awaiting the perfect kill.

My rifle gripped tight, I called in the news as troops advanced over the stream,
another town lost to the rag tag brigade with the Angel guiding their feet,
they tore through the town, through houses of friends, the Angel instructing their death.

They raped and they killed and the Angel looked on, satisfaction all over her face.
My heart felt heavy, the tears welled up, I felt empty and weak as I stood,
watching babies, and mothers, the old and the town stained with their blood.

I jumped with a start as my earpiece rang out,
‘intervention required at once’.
My weapon was cocked as I raced down the hill with my Section behind as support.

As we neared the town the Angel looked down and considered the newcomer’s fate,
should the sniper take aim, should the mortars rain down and deliver them up to the gate?

I dodged through the streets, my life in her hands, the adrenalin pushing me on, to the screams of the girl, to the cries of the child through the mud, through the blood to beyond.

As I came to a junction I looked to my left, I heard a young girl scream,
the girl fought back, so small and so weak, she made the soldier bleed.
His pride took over as his pistol was drawn and the Angle swooped down for her feed.

‘STOP, OR I FIRE’, I called to the group, the Angel stopped in mid flight,
I dropped to one knee, brought my rifle to bear and focused my aim through the sight.

They turned all at once; I could see in their eyes the Angel had gripped them within.
I waited forever but nobody moved, a stalemate where no one could win.

I shifted position, the cramp set in and adrenalin coursed through my veins. The fear hung close, the sweat stung my eyes and the soldier retreated a pace.

I slowly stood up with my aim held true and repeated my warning again,
I was ready to fire, to take a man down, to end his life there and then.


Our fate was decided with the roll of a dice as the Angel looked on with a grin, I started to shiver and the cold wind took hold and fear took over again,

the Angel swooped down with a scream so loud that the soldier ducked out of the way,
my rifle kicked back and the rounds took hold and his spirit was lifted away.

The others looked on, their weapons fell limp, one of their own was gone,
with the girl at their feet they turned to retreat and abandon their fight for today.

I ran to the girl as I shook with fear and dragged her away from the death,
she survived today, and tomorrow would play the Angel of Death once again.


___________________________________________________________
All in all a bad day at the office?

Was that written by a local Yugo bloke? If yes, why did he not mention being off his tits on Slivovitz (note the rhyme)?
 

Hexi Bloke

Old-Salt
All in all a bad day at the office?

Was that written by a local Yugo bloke? If yes, why did he not mention being off his tits on Slivovitz (note the rhyme)?
I really can't remember where I first came across this poem, but you're absolutely correct regarding Slivovitz, (Slip-in-the-ditch).o_O
 
I really can't remember where I first came across this poem, but you're absolutely correct regarding Slivovitz, (Slip-in-the-ditch).o_O
I was the lead Int analyst at HQ 1st (British) Corps* when the war in B-H kicked off.

A week or two before it went completely bananas I was copied into a routine signal from the Brit Embassy in Sarajevo, giving an assessment of the security situation from the perspective of the diplomatic corps (small 'c') and one phrase in it - dementia/Alzheimer's permitting - I will never forget.

The author wrote that the principal threat to the safety of Embassy staff was from "inebriated irregulars".

That's "drunks with guns", for those deprived of even a half-decent education.​
* Stonkernote:
Given the timing I generally prefer "Last (British) Corps", but some youngsters might not get it.
And some oldsters plain don't like it.​
But fvck them, eh? :-D :thumleft:
 
I was going to start a separate thread for this subject, but, having read some of the poems in this one, I thought it more appropriate to post here (and I haven't read all the posts). Today, 1st July, marks the day when a British Army dragged themselves out of their stinking trenches and walked (as they had been ordered to do) towards the German trenches. Twenty thousand of them would not see the sun set that day. Three weeks ago marked the 76th anniversary of D-Day (shamefully ignored by the BBC). There were no signs up in the trenches or the landing craft saying that if they thought they would be upset by the days events, there are 'safe spaces' to go to and sit until the fighting was over, they went because their enemy sought to deny them of the freedoms that the British have fought for over generations (and have been casually removed from us without a wimper from the current generation). The conversations that they would have had the night before the battle would appall the 'Woke' generation but they, in turn, would be appalled at the way that our history is being dragged through the mud and 'revised' because it does not comply with the 'political correct' view.

Apologies if this poem has aready been posted, but it is fitting for today:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae
 
WW2 EOD Limerick -

We don’t kid ourselves we’re heroes
‘cos we sometimes get the blues,
especially when we get a bomb
that’s got an awkward fuse.

And if we get it out alright,
We do a little grin
But if we don’t - that’s just too bad
They inform our next of kin.

 

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