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War Poetry
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11th-Dec-2016 01:00 am - John F. Kendrick, 'Christians At War'
Duath
Christians At War

Onward, Christian soldiers! Duty's way is plain;
Slay your Christian neighbors, or by them be slain,
Pulpiteers are spouting effervescent swill,
God above is calling you to rob and rape and kill,
All your acts are sanctified by the Lamb on high;
If you love the Holy Ghost, go murder, pray and die.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Rip and tear and smite!
Let the gentle Jesus bless your dynamite.
Splinter skulls with shrapnel, fertilize the sod;
Folks who do not speak your tongue deserve the curse of God.
Smash the doors of every home, pretty maidens seize;
Use your might and sacred right to treat them as you please.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Eat and drink your fill;
Rob with bloody fingers, Christ okays the bill,
Steal the farmers' savings, take their grain and meat;
Even though the children starve, the Savior's bums must eat,
Burn the peasants' cottages, orphans leave bereft;
In Jehovah's holy name, wreak ruin right and left.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Drench the land with gore;
Mercy is a weakness all the gods abhor.
Bayonet the babies, jab the mothers, too;
Hoist the cross of Calvary to hallow all you do.
File your bullets' noses flat, poison every well;
God decrees your enemies must all go plumb to hell.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Blight all that you meet;
Trample human freedom under pious feet.
Praise the Lord whose dollar sign dupes his favored race!
Make the foreign trash respect your bullion brand of grace.
Trust in mock salvation, serve as tyrant's tools;
History will say of you: "That pack of G.. d.. fools."

By John F. Kendrick (1916)

Duath
Tonight’s Target is the Face of Scrooge

War like cities is more lovely at night.
I climb tank tracks, like Jacob’s Ladder
To the ridge and watch the bombardment
Bursting in red gold and silver coin phosphorous,
Santa Claus pouches. Tonight’s target is the crumbling
Face of Scrooge. These sounds are not bombs,
Not schools or hospitals, they are Ming vases,
Old Masters juggled by drunks.
Once governments told to mind how you cross a road.
Now they urge you stream between instant potholes, run excitedly
In lines of zeros like the zero hour on digital displays,
In long lines, like those on armaments’ manufacturers’ cheques.
The burglar bullet that ransacks your heart
Is a kiss, a blessing, a golden guinea.
The shells that travel over your heads like priests’ hands,
Explode hilariously, like drunks falling over. It is a party.
Above you are the fireworks of a hundred nations.
Check your magazine. It is loaded with party poppers.

By Michael Brett
9th-Dec-2016 01:00 am - T.A. Girling, 'An Idyll of the War'
Duath
An Idyll of the War

He came into the billet,
A captain worn with care,
For two weeks' rest from Ypres,
Then on, he knew not where.

He greeted her so gently
And smiled through tired eyes,
When all that homely comfort
He saw with glad surprise.

She met him at the doorway
And gave him welcome true,
For she had two dear brothers
At Verdun, fighting too.

She watched his needs and tended
With willing cheerful face,
Her brown eyes shone with kindness,
Her lithe form moved with grace.

He rode a gallant charger,
Like Launcelot of old,
His nickel shone like silver,
His brass-work gleamed like gold.

A sergeant followed after,
A batman waited near,
He seemed so strong and forceful,
So free from pride or fear.

And she was young and merry,
And full of winsome ways,
Yet with a heart beneath them
That shone with ruby rays.

Her voice was softest music,
Her laugh was like the stream,
Her sadness a deep symphony,
Her pensiveness a dream.

He tried to learn their language,
And touch the thought that blends,
He told her of his country,
His work, his home, his friends.

She spoke in broken English,
And wondered oft and sighed,
And found in him a comrade
In whom she might confide.

They played at draughts together,
But lingered o'er the game
To talk of times and places,
And thoughts they'd had the same.

The long war was forgotten
In nature, flowers, and skies,
And poetry, and laughter;
They walked in Paradise.

He came into the billet
With trouble on his brow,
The smile fled from her features,
She was the woman now.

She came and sat beside him,
He took her pretty hand,
And told her all his worry,
He knew she'd understand.

She was a gentle French girl,
He needed help that day,
So is it any wonder
That love should show the way ?

His worries seem to vanish,
And just for five days' flight
She was his gentle Marie,
He was her khaki knight.

Then out into the darkness
He rode before the train,
And all night through his Marie
Was at his side again.

While lonely as a widow
She wept the whole night through,
For he was gone for ever,
The first love that she knew.

Ah ! was it wasted pity ?
And was it broken troth ?
They loved without a future,
They kissed without an oath ;

Or were it Heaven-sent blessing
When exiled soldiers fight,
If every gentle Marie
Might find her khaki knight ?

by T.A. Girling
8th-Dec-2016 01:00 am - Robert Kiely, 'Afghan Skies'
Duath
Afghan Skies

‘Neath Afghan skies I lay my head
and dream of soft brown dancing eyes.
Your sweet scent from my senses fled,
your gentle touch, a distant smile.

‘Neath Afghan skies I see you sleeping,
yet when I awake you are gone.
We share the same constellations fleeting
but countless miles see us alone.

The ceiling stares – a ticking clock
and still no calm to wistful sighs.
The shadows in the corner mock
while pictures play before my eyes.

I see across Drumavish hills,
the waves break on Rosnowla beach.
As winter blows its icy chill
your splendour smile just out of reach.

The passion that we often know.
The pleasure as our spirits ‘twined.
Breast to breast, a knowing glow -
our heart beats beat as one defined.

As slumber breaks, alone again
but images of you endure.
I hold them as my thoughts remain,
I save them in my mind secure.

‘Neath Afghan skies I write a while
and as I wish this night to fade
(a soldier’s curse, a spouse’s trial)
I wait for our reunion made.

By Robert Kiely
7th-Dec-2016 01:00 am - Chris, 'A Soldier's Winter'
Duath
A Soldier’s Winter

What is this cold?
Where is this white
Is this real, or just a fleeting moment of life, of my life

I see no longer the greens and reds,
Where have the autumn leaves gone?
This must be the first signs of a new winter?

I see trees, I see sky, I see clouds,
All winter white,
Can I reach upward to touch the falling flake?
I try but never seem to connect,

And as I lay there staring at the sky
is my body cold ?
As I lay I hope I am not forgotten
But here I am alone.
I close my eyes and try to think of home.
Is this really happening to me?

This isn’t real this is only a dream
I never have felt this way before, cold, weak and exposed, but strangely at ease
With a tear I draw my parting breath
I’m looking down on my body below

I understand now this is winter….this is my winter

By Chris, a soldier serving in Afghanistan
6th-Dec-2016 01:00 am - Edward Thomas, 'A Private'
Duath
A Private

This ploughman dead in battle slept out of doors
Many's a frozen night, and merrily
Answered staid drinkers, good bedmen, and all bores:
'At Mrs Greenland's Hawthorn Bush,' said he,
'I slept.' None knew which bush. Above the town,
Beyond 'The Drover', a hundred spot the down
In Wiltshire. And where now at last he sleeps
More sound in France - that, too, he secret keeps.

by Edward Thomas
Duath
Essendo Morti - Being Dead

Winter arrives, the birds all gone,
the skies stained in arctic blues,

we tire out easily through the hallucination,
our minds wet by the explosions,

we watch the thin rivers snake through the backyards
(looking for signs of life),

in dreams the bodies float away like homemade boats
down to the frozen waterfall,

night unearths every mass grave—
the intrinsic momentum-phenomena of light,

we fall to our knees to petition God,
beg him like we beg him to be saved,

each dream lasts up past springtime,
beneath the DMZ, all the orbiting planets,

until a simpler life—the migrating birds,
smoke rustling about our chimney tops.

By Jeanpaul Ferro
Duath
All The Dead Soldiers

In the chill rains of the early winter I hear something—
A puling anger, a cold wind stiffened by flying bone—
Out of the north ...
and remember, then, what’s up there:
That ghost-bank: home: Amchitka: boot hill ....

They must be very tired, those ghosts; no flesh sustains them
And the bones rust in the rain.
Reluctant to go into the earth
The skulls gleam: wet; the dog-tag forgets the name;
The statistics (wherein they were young) like their crosses, are weathering out,

They must be very tired.
But I see them riding home,
Nightly: crying weak lust and rage: to stand in the dark,
Forlorn in known rooms, unheard near familiar beds:
Where lie the aging women: who were so lovely: once.

by Thomas McGrath
3rd-Dec-2016 02:00 am - Jessie Pope, 'Captive Conquerors'
Duath
Captive Conquerors

(It is reported that women in Stuttgart have been forbidden by military proclamation to cast amorous glances on the British prisoners.)

Oh! Stuttgart Frauleins, and capacious Fraus,
What shocking news is this that filters through?
Have you been fostering domestic rows
By casting, naughtily, glad eyes of blue
At poor old Tommy in his prison-house?
Tut! tut! This is a pretty how-d'ye do!

Anna and Gretchen, where's your strength of mind?
Think of that khaki crowd whose force of arms
Bustles your goose-step legions from behind;
These very captives should inspire alarms.
You are indeed disloyal and unkind
To fall a prey to their dishevelled charms.

The gods have come among you, I admit,
To make your jealous Herren fume and fuss.
Unkempt, unshaven, rather short of kit,
The prisoners attract you even thus.
But, Fraus and Frauleins, what's the use of it?
Their hearts, please understand, belong to us!

By Jessie Pope
Duath
Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)

I wrote my mother, I wrote my father,
And now I'm writing you too.
I'm sure of mother, I'm sure of father,
And now I want to be sure of you.

Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me,
Anyone else but me, anyone else but me, NO NO NO!
Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me
Till I come marching home.

Don't go walking down lovers' lane with anyone else but me,
Anyone else but me, anyone else but me,
Don't go walking down lovers' lane with anyone else but me
Till I come marching home.

I just got word from a guy who heard
From the guy next door to me,
That a girl he met just loves to pet,
And it fits you to a "T".
So don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me
Till I come marching home.

Then we'll go arm in arm, and
Sit down under the apple tree,
Baby, just you and me,
When I come marching home.

By Lew Brown and Charles Tobias

Girl's Reply

Don't give out with those lips of yours
To anyone else but me,
Anyone else but me, anyone else but me, No No NO!
Lots of girls on the foreign shores,
You'll have to report to me
When you come marching home.

Don't hold anyone on your knee,
You better be true to me,
You better be true to me, you better be true to me.
Don't hold anyone on your knee,
You're getting the third degree
When you come marching home.

You're on your own where there is no phone,
And I can't keep tab on you.
Be fair to me, I'll guarantee
This is one thing that I'll do:
I won't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but you
Till you come marching home.

I know the apple tree is reserved for you and me,
And I'll be true till you come marching home.

Unknown



(To the memory of my mother, whose 90th birthday this day would have been. This was 'their song' when my father was at war.)
Duath
Snoopy vs. The Red Baron

After the turn of the century
In the clear blue skies over Germany
Came a roar and a thunder man has never heard
Like the screaming sound of a big war bird.

Up in the sky, a man in a plane
Baron Von Richthofen was his name
Eighty men tried and eighty men died
Now they're buried together on the country side.

Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or more
The bloody Red Baron was rollin' up the score
Eighty men died trying to end that spree
Of the bloody Red Baron of Germany.


In the nick of time, a hero arose
A funny looking dog with a big black nose
He flew into the sky to seek revenge
But the Baron shot him down
"Curses, foiled again!"

Now Snoopy had sworn that he'd get that man
So he asked the Great Pumpkin for a new battle plan
He challenged the German to a real dog fight
While the Baron was laughing he got him in his sights.

That bloody Red Baron was in a fix
He tried everything but he'd run out of tricks
Snoopy fired once and he fired twice
And that bloody Red Baron went spinnin' out of sight.

Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or more
The bloody Red Baron was rollin' up the score
Eighty men died trying to end that spree
Of the bloody Red Baron of Germany.


By Phil Gernhard and Rick Holler (1966)

1st-Dec-2016 01:00 am - James Love, 'What I Miss Most'
Duath
What I Miss Most

I miss the lads.
I miss those crisp clear nights,
when the frost glistens in the moonlight.
I miss those lonely exposed hills,
lashed by the rain.
I miss the young and innocent faces,
some of whom we’ll never see again.
I miss the laughter and the crack.
I miss their morbid humour,
the childish pranks and unspoken laws.
I miss the sense of belonging,
that unique bond.
I miss youth at its best,
though I’ll grow old, unlike the rest.

What I miss most?
I miss the lads.

By James Love
Duath
How Soon They Forget

Our innocent youth was used and lost
To fight for Freedoms Cause
Whatever the cost;
The friends we made so fast;
Some to fade
Some to last;
To live or die
Was but a pause;
How soon they forget!

2
Winged chariots rusted and bent
No use for modern fray.
Engines silent
Their power spent.
No more the shout " Contact - chocks away;"
How soon they forget!

3
Heroes of the past; our tales we tell
In the fading Autumn of our years
We re-live the scream and yell;
But who listens to the tears
Of an old mans laughs and fears
Who remembers what we lost;
How soon they forget!

4
Once a year old friends assemble
The numbers they grow light
They; Do not understand
The tears that distort our sight
When we hear the "Merlin " rumble
Or see the " Hurri " or "Spit " in flight.
They say "Silly old man to fret";
How soon they forget!

5
The Winter Years to us call;
Like Autumn leaves old friends and comrades fall
Year by year we Famous Few
Give up our fight and fly to pastures new
There are some to mourn us; yet
How soon they forget.

By Stephen Walshe
29th-Nov-2016 01:00 am - Siegfried Sassoon, 'Survivors'
Duath
Survivors

No doubt they’ll soon get well; the shock and strain
Have caused their stammering, disconnected talk.
Of course they’re ‘longing to go out again,’—
These boys with old, scared faces, learning to walk.
They’ll soon forget their haunted nights; their cowed
Subjection to the ghosts of friends who died,—
Their dreams that drip with murder; and they’ll be proud
Of glorious war that shatter’d all their pride...
Men who went out to battle, grim and glad;
Children, with eyes that hate you, broken and mad.

by Siegfried Sassoon
28th-Nov-2016 01:00 am - Benjamin Burnley, 'Unknown Soldier'
Duath
Unknown Soldier

Borderline, dead inside
I don't mind falling to pieces
Count me in, violent
Let's begin feeding the sickness
How do I simplify?
Dislocate
The enemies on the way

Show me what it's like
To dream in black and white
So I can leave this world tonight

Full of fear, ever clear
I'll be here fighting forever
Curious, venomous
You'll find me climbing to heaven
Never mind, turn back time
You'll be fine, I will get left behind

Show me what it's like to dream in black and white
So I can leave this world tonight
Holding on too tight
Breathe the breath of life
So I can leave this world tonight

It only hurts just once
They're only broken bones
Hide the hate inside

By Benjamin Burnley

27th-Nov-2016 01:00 am - Eva Dobell, 'Advent, 1916'
Duath
Advent, 1916

I dreamt last night Christ came to earth again
To bless His own. My soul from place to place
On her dream-quest sped, seeking for His face
Through temple and town and lovely land, in vain.

Then came I to a place where death and pain
Had made of God's sweet world a waste forlorn,
With shattered trees and meadows gashed and torn,
Where the grim trenches scarred the shell-sheared plain.

And through that Golgotha of blood and clay,
Where watchers cursed the sick dawn, heavy-eyed,
There (in my dream) Christ passed upon His way,
Where His cross marks their nameless graves who died
Slain for the world's salvation where all day
For others' sake strong men are crucified.

by Eva Dobell
Duath
Me And Crippled Soldiers

Now that it's alright to burn the stars and stripes
Yes, nobody really needs old Uncle Sam
Might as well burn the bill of rights as well
And let our country go straight to hell
Only me and crippled soldiers give a damn

Should they throw away their purple hearts and hide their uniforms
And be proud to hear old glories on the ground
Somebody said, they'd take us without firing a shot
I don't know if they will or not
But only me and crippled soldiers give a damn

Has the holocaust been so long? Is Hitler really gone
As we burn our only cause for Vietnam?
There's the mom who lost her son
Is this the freedom that we won?
For only me and crippled soldiers give a damn

I've been known to wave the flag before
And saddened when we went to war
Fighting for the symbol of our land
For all the wars we fought and won to keep old glory waving
Today, they ruled to burn old glory down
And only me and crippled soldiers give a damn

By Merle Haggard

Duath
The Hospital Visitor

When yesterday I went to see friends –
(Watching their patient faces in a row
I want to give each boy a D.S.O.)
When yesterday I went to see my friends
With cigarettes and foolish odds and ends,
(Knowing they understand how well I know
That nothing I can do will make amends,
But that I must not grieve, or tell them so),
A pale-faced Iniskilling, just eighteen,
Who’d fought two years, with eyes a little dim
Smiled up and showed me, there behind the screen
On the humped bandage that replaced a limb,
How someone left him, where the leg had been
A tiny green glass pig to comfort him.

Here are men who’ve learned to laugh at pain.
And if their lips have quivered when they spoke,
They’ve said brave words, or tried to make a joke,
Said it’s not worse than trenches in the rain,
Or pools of water on a chalky plain,
Or bitter cold from which you stiffly woke,
Or deep wet mud that left you hardly sane,
Or the tense wait for ‘Fritz’s master stroke’.
You seldom hear then talk of their ‘bad luck’.
And suffering has not spoiled their ready wit,
And oh! You’d hardly doubt their fighting pluck
When each new generation shows their grit,
Who never brag of blows for England struck,
But only yearn to ‘ get about a bit’.

By Alys Fane Trotter
Duath
In A Soldiers' Hospital 1: Pluck

Crippled for life at seventeen,
His great eyes seems to question why:
With both legs smashed it might have been
Better in that grim trench to die
Than drag maimed years out helplessly.

A child - so wasted and so white,
He told a lie to get his way,
To march, a man with men, and fight
While other boys are still at play.
A gallant lie your heart will say.

So broke with pain, he shrinks in dread
To see the 'dresser' drawing near;
And winds the clothes about his head
That none may see his heart-sick fear.
His shaking, strangled sobs you hear.

But when the dreaded moment's there
He'll face us all, a soldier yet,
Watch his bared wounds with unmoved air,
(Though tell-tale lashes still are wet),
And smoke his Woodbine cigarette.

by Eva Dobell
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