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  1. #1
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    Jul. 30, 2005
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    Default Favourite War Poems

    Mine are:

    In Flanders Fields

    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.

    and also

    The Soldier (War Sonnets No. 5)

    If I should die, think only this of me:
    That there's some corner of a foreign field
    That is for ever England. There shall be
    In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
    A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
    Gave, once her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
    A body of England's, breathing English air,
    Washed by the rivers, blessed by the suns of home.
    And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
    A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
    Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
    Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
    And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
    In hearts a peace, under an English heaven.
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  2. #2
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    Feb. 15, 2004
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    Default

    I was going to post "In Flanders' Field" as well.



  3. #3
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    Nov. 16, 2000
    Location
    Concord, NH
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    This might be a little schlocky but most of the patriotic songs - the song of the green beret, Battle Hymn of the Republic, the Caisson song - I had to learn them all in the 3rd grade (it was 1976) and we sang the history of the US - (every verse, every song) while not poetry, can make you sit back and think a little.

    And it sunk in, I remember most of them.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2006
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    Huleikat-the Third Poem About Dicky

    In these hills, even the towers of oil wells
    Are a mere memory. Here Dicky fell,
    Four years older than me, like a father to me
    In times of trouble and distress. Now I am older than him
    By forty years and I remember him
    Like a young son, and I am his father, old and grieving.

    And you, who remember only faces,
    Do not forget the hands stretched out,
    The feet running lightly,
    The words.

    Remember: even the departure to terrible battles
    Passes by gardens and windows
    And children playing, a dog barking.

    Remind the fallen fruit
    Of its leaves and branches,
    Remind the sharp thorns
    How soft and green they were in springtime,
    And do not forget,
    Even a fist
    Was once an open palm and fingers.


    -Yehuda Amichai



  5. #5
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    Jul. 30, 2005
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    England
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    Huleikat-the Third Poem About Dicky

    In these hills, even the towers of oil wells
    Are a mere memory. Here Dicky fell,
    Four years older than me, like a father to me
    In times of trouble and distress. Now I am older than him
    By forty years and I remember him
    Like a young son, and I am his father, old and grieving.

    And you, who remember only faces,
    Do not forget the hands stretched out,
    The feet running lightly,
    The words.

    Remember: even the departure to terrible battles
    Passes by gardens and windows
    And children playing, a dog barking.

    Remind the fallen fruit
    Of its leaves and branches,
    Remind the sharp thorns
    How soft and green they were in springtime,
    And do not forget,
    Even a fist
    Was once an open palm and fingers.


    -Yehuda Amichai
    That's really good... makes you think.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2009
    Location
    Rootown!
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    2,108

    Default

    I love "In Flanders Fields"

    This one is my favorite, really sad but it's always made me think (and cry).

    Dulce et Decorum Est
    by Wilfred Owen

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

    Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.
    No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
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  7. #7
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    Jun. 7, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by dghunter View Post
    I love "In Flanders Fields"

    This one is my favorite, really sad but it's always made me think (and cry).

    Dulce et Decorum Est
    by Wilfred Owen

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

    Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.
    This very sentiment is what makes me want to throw tomatoes at the screen when Alec Baldwin gets started with his motivational speeches in Pearl Harbor.
    The sad thing is I don't think that movie meant his character satyrically.



  8. #8
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    Feb. 21, 2009
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    Rootown!
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    This very sentiment is what makes me want to throw tomatoes at the screen when Alec Baldwin gets started with his motivational speeches in Pearl Harbor.
    The sad thing is I don't think that movie meant his character satyrically.
    I've actually never seen Pearl Harbor. I do have a really OT but amusing story about it though. My parents went with another couple to see it and partway into the movie the other guy went "NO ONE TOLD ME THIS WAS A LOVE STORY!"
    No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2008
    Location
    UK
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    ohhh, a selection:

    "Into Battle" Julian Grenfell

    The naked earth is warm with spring,
    And with green grass and bursting trees
    Leans to the sun's gaze glorying,
    And quivers in the sunny breeze;
    And life is colour and warmth and light,
    And a striving evermore for these;
    And he is dead who will not fight;
    And who dies fighting has increase.

    The fighting man shall from the sun
    Take warmth, and life from the glowing earth;
    Speed with the light-foot winds to run,
    And with the trees to newer birth;
    And find, when fighting shall be done,
    Great rest, and fullness after dearth.

    All the bright company of Heaven
    Hold him in their high comradeship,
    The Dog-Star, and the Sisters Seven,
    Orion's Belt and sworded hip.

    The woodland trees that stand together,
    They stand to him each one a friend;
    They gently speak in the windy weather;
    They guide to valley and ridge's end.

    The kestrel hovering by day,
    And the little owls that call by night,
    Bid him be swift and keen as they,
    As keen of ear, as swift of sight.

    The blackbird sings to him, "Brother, brother,
    If this be the last song you shall sing,
    Sing well, for you may not sing another;
    Brother, sing."

    In dreary, doubtful, waiting hours,
    Before the brazen frenzy starts,
    The horses show him nobler powers;
    O patient eyes, courageous hearts!

    And when the burning moment breaks,
    And all things else are out of mind,
    And only joy of battle takes
    Him by the throat, and makes him blind,

    Through joy and blindness he shall know,
    Not caring much to know, that still
    Nor lead nor steel shall reach him, so
    That it be not the Destined Will.

    The thundering line of battle stands,
    And in the air death moans and sings;
    But Day shall clasp him with strong hands,
    And Night shall fold him in soft wings.

    __________________________________________________ ___
    Christmas 1924 - Thomas Hardy

    'Peace upon Earth!' was said. We sing it,
    And pay a million priests to bring it.
    After two thousand years of Mass
    We've got as far as poison-gas.
    __________________________________________________ ___

    The English War - Dorothy Sayers (I've cut out several verses here)

    Praise God, now, for an English war –
    the grey tide and the sullen coast,
    The menace of the urgent hour,
    The single island, like a tower,
    Ringed with an angry host.

    When Europe, like a prison door,
    Clangs; and the swift, enfranchised sea
    Runs narrower than a village brook;
    And men who love us not, yet look
    To us for liberty;

    When no allies are left, no help
    To count upon from alien hands,
    No waverers remain to woo,
    No more advice to listen to,
    And only England stands.

    Send us, O God, the will and power
    To do as we have done before;
    The men that ride the sea and air
    Are the same men their fathers were
    To fight the English war.

    And send, O God, an English peace –
    Some sense, some decency, perhaps
    Some justice, too, if we are able,
    With no sly jackals round our table,
    Cringing for blood-stained scraps;

    No dangerous dreams of wishful men
    Whose homes are safe, who never feel
    The flying death that swoops and stuns,
    The kisses of the curtseying guns
    Slavering their street with steel;

    No dream, Lord God, but vigilance,
    That we may keep, by might and main,
    Inviolate seas, inviolate skies –
    But if another tyrant rise,
    Then we shall fight again.



  10. #10
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    Jun. 18, 2007
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    I have always found the poetry of Ewart Alan Mackintosh to be very gripping, really looking at the various feelings of a soldier in war. He was a Scottish poet, killed in action in WWI. Check out "Anthem for Doomed Youth," which is an entire collection of WWI poetry, both his and others. It is excellent.

    The Mackintosh poem that has always latched onto me strongest, though, is one called Death written very shortly before his own death in combat. Not his most famous poem, but the one that twists me the most. This is not upbeat, patriotic, etc., but it is chillingly real. It lets you feel the war. I have always thought it had to be a premonition.

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Death_%28Mackintosh%29



  11. #11
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    Brian Turner's poetry is fantastic - I highly recommend his first book of poetry called Here, Bullet - his newest Phantom Noise is also very good. He's an Iraq War vet and poet.
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  12. #12
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    Not published but one that one of my Great Uncles who fought in WWI wrote in his diary/memoirs of that time of his life. He wrote this after he had returned to Anzac Cove as part of a returned services trip to the battlefields in Europe and environs in the 1980s. He was around 85 at the time.

    We came
    We fought
    We won
    We lost
    We lived
    We died

    Other than that - In Flanders Field has to be right up there.



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