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War Poetry
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29th-Apr-2016 01:00 am - Unknown, 'The Dying Rebel'
Duath
The Dying Rebel

The night was dark, and the fight was over,
The moon shone down O'Connell Street,
I stood alone, where brave men perished
Those men have gone, their God to meet.
My only son was shot in Dublin,
Fighting for his country bold,
He fought for Ireland, and Ireland only,
The Harp and Shamrock, Green, White and Gold.

The first I met was a grey-haired father
Searching for his only son,
I said "Old man, there's no use searching
For up to heaven, your son has gone".

The old man cried out broken hearted
Bending o'er I heard him say:
"I knew my son was too kind hearted,
I knew my son would never yield".

The last I met was a dying rebel,
Bending low I heard him say:
"God bless my home in dear Cork City,
God bless the cause for which I die."

Sung by 'The Wolfe Tones'

Duath
April Evening: France, 1916

O sweet blue eve that seems so loath to die,
Trailing the sunset glory into night,
Within the soft, cool strangeness of thy light,
My heart doth seem to find its sanctuary.

The day doth verge with all its secret care,
The thrush is lilting vespers on the thorn;
In Nature's inner heart seems to be born
A sweet serenity; and over there

Within the shadows of the stealing Night,
Beneath the benison of all her stars
Men, stirr'd to passion by relentless Mars,
Laughing at Death, wage an unceasing fight.

The thunder of the guns, the scream of shells
Now seem to rend the placid evening air:
Yet as the night is lit by many a flare
The thrush his love in one wild lyric tells.

O sweet blue eve! Lingering awhile with thee,
Before the earth with thy sweet dews are wet,
My heart all but thy beauty shall forget
And find itself in thy serenity.

by John William Streets
27th-Apr-2016 01:00 am - Hawthorne Heights, 'Oceans'
Duath
Oceans

You live in letters sent with shaky hands and circumstances
I bet you never thought your life could turn so tragic
A never ending summer in the sand is not vacation

I swear I saw my life flash before my eyes
As the waves came crashing down
I saw reflections of your face up in the sky
As shots fired before you heard a sound

What's it feel like to be alone?
The one you love is across the ocean
You'll never know if he's coming home
The firefight dear, it isn't over


You spend your nights drinking alone waiting for phone calls
I bet you never thought your life could seem so long
I walked the ocean floor so I could bring you home

I swear I saw my life flash before my eyes
As the waves came crashing down
I saw reflections of your face up in the sky
As shots fired before you heard a sound

What's it feel like to be alone?
The one you love is across the ocean
You'll never know if he's coming home
The firefight dear, it isn't over


Sometimes life really isn't fair
Maybe I wished too far, far from here
But all I ever wanted was for you to care
All I ever wanted was to meet you there

Sometimes life really isn't fair

I swear I saw my life flash before my eyes
As the waves came crashing down

What's it feel like to be alone?
The one you love is across the ocean
You'll never know if he's coming home
The firefight dear, it isn't over


By 'Hawthorne Heights'

26th-Apr-2016 01:00 am - Charles O'Neill, 'The Foggy Dew'
Duath
The Foggy Dew

As down the glen one Easter morn to a city fair rode I
There Armed lines of marching men in squadrons passed me by
No pipe did hum, no battle drum did sound its loud tattoo
But the Angelus Bell o'er the Liffey's swell rang out in the foggy dew

Right proudly high over Dublin Town they hung out the flag of war
'Twas better to die 'neath an Irish sky than at Suvla or Sud-El-Bar
And from the plains of Royal Meath strong men came hurrying through
While Britannia's Huns, with their long range guns sailed in through the foggy dew

Oh the night fell black, and the rifles' crack made perfidious Albion reel
In the leaden rain, seven tongues of flame did shine o'er the lines of steel
By each shining blade a prayer was said, that to Ireland her sons be true
But when morning broke, still the war flag shook out its folds in the foggy dew

'Twas England bade our wild geese go, that "small nations might be free";
Their lonely graves are by Suvla's waves or the fringe of the great North Sea.
Oh, had they died by Pearse's side or fought with Cathal Brugha*
Their graves we'd keep where the Fenians sleep, 'neath the shroud of the foggy dew.

Oh the bravest fell, and the Requiem bell rang mournfully and clear
For those who died that Eastertide in the spring time of the year
While the world did gaze, with deep amaze, at those fearless men, but few,
Who bore the fight that freedom's light might shine through the foggy dew

As back through the glen I rode again and my heart with grief was sore
For I parted then with valiant men whom I never shall see more
But to and fro in my dreams I go and I kneel and pray for you,
For slavery fled, O glorious dead, when you fell in the foggy dew.

By Charles O'Neill

25th-Apr-2016 01:00 am - Mike Subritzky, 'Pastures Green'
Duath
Pastures Green

Pastures green, poppy fields,
graves for soldiers fallen.
A wooden cross marks a resting place,
a thousand miles from loved ones.

Rusted wire, silent guns,
trenches torn and broken.
A helmet rests on a rifle butt,
the tools of war unspoken.

Anzac Days, colours blaze,
their battle honours borne on.
Old men march and a bugle plays,
in memory of the fallen.

By Mike Subritzky

[Pastures Green is the first New Zealand poem to be read at Westminster Abbey. It was read at the ANZAC Day Service 2004, by Lord Freyberg]
24th-Apr-2016 07:00 am - Adam Brand, 'ANZAC'
Duath
ANZAC

1914 began, he was working on the land with his mum and dad
He left behind his girl, joined up to see the world, it made his mother sad
He made it through the war, came back to town
To help his father work the fields and rebuild his life somehow
And everybody called him the ANZAC and that's still what they call him now

He set his mind to stay when his father passed away and the river ran dry
He said "I'll take care of you mum, I've fought before and won, we can win this fight"
All alone he'd work all day until he'd drop, until the place got back to best he didn't stop
There were times he thought he'd been forgotten
But every night at six o'clock

They'd stand for that man they called the ANZAC
And those who gave their lives for us
They'd stand for that man they called the ANZAC
For fighting for the land he loves

At the same time every year we all remember him
At the crack of dawn we stand as one for all our fallen friends
So drink to that man we call the ANZAC
We will remember him

So stand for that man we call the ANZAC
And those who gave their lives for us
Let's stand for that man we call the ANZAC
For fighting for the land we love

Let's stand for that man we call the ANZAC
For fighting for the land we love

We will remember them

By Adam Brand

24th-Apr-2016 01:00 am - Peadar Kearney, 'Erin Go Bragh'
Duath
Erin Go Bragh

I'll sing you a story of a row in the town,
When the green flag went up and the Crown rag came down,
'Twas the neatest and sweetest thing ever you saw,
And they played the best games played in Erin Go Bragh.

Now here's to Pat Pearse and our comrades who died
Tom Clark, MacDonagh, MacDiarmada, McBryde,
And here's to James Connolly who gave one hurrah,
And placed the machine guns for Erin Go Bragh.

One of our leaders was down at Ring's end,
For the honor of Ireland to hold and defend,
He had no veteran soldiers but volunteers raw,
Playing sweet Mauser music for Erin Go Bragh.

Old Ceannt and his comrades like lions at bay,
From the South Dublin Union poured death and dismay,
And what was their horror when the Englishmen saw
All the dead khaki soldiers in Erin Go Bragh.

One brave English captain was ranting that day,
Saying, "Give me one hour and I'll blow you away,"
But a big Mauser bullet got stuck in his craw,
And he died of lead poisoning in Erin Go Bragh.

Now here's to old Dublin, and here's her renown,
In the long generation her fame will go down,
And our children will tell how their forefathers saw,
The red blaze of freedom in Erin Go Bragh.

By Peadar Kearney

First day of the Easter Rebellion, April 24, 1916

23rd-Apr-2016 01:00 am - William Butler Yeats, 'Easter 1916'
Duath
Easter, 1916

I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman's days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our wingèd horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone's in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse—
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

By William Butler Yeats
Duath
Where Is The Flag Of England?

Let the winds of the world make answer!
North, South, East, West,
Wherever there is wealth to covet
Or land to be possessed:
Wherever the savage nations
To coddle, coerce or scare,
You may look for the vaunted emblem
For the Flag of England is there!

Aye, it waves over the blazing hovels
Whence its African victims fly
To be shot by explosive bullets
Or wretchedly starve and die:
Or where the beachcomber hammers
The isles of the southern sea -
From the peak of his hellish vessel
The English flag flies free!

The Maori, full of hate, curses
With his fleeting, dying breath.
And the Arab hath hissed his hatred
As he spat at its folds in death.
The hapless fellah hath feared it
On Tel el Kebir's parched plain.
And the blood of the Zulu hath stained it,
With a deep indelible stain.

It has floated over scenes of pillage
And flaunted over deeds of shame.
It has waved o'er the fell marauder
As he ravished with Sword and flame:
It has looked on ruthless slaughter
And assassination dire and grim.
And has heard the shrieks of its victims
Drown even the jingo hymn.

Where is the flag of England?
Seek the land where the natives rot
And decay, and assured extinction
Must soon be the people's lot.
Go to the once fair island
Where disease and death are rife
And the greed of colossal commerce
Now fattens on human life.

Where is the flag of England?
Go sail where the rich galleons come
With their shoddy and wasted cotton,
And beer and Bibles and rum.
Seek the land where brute force hath triumphed
And hypocrisy hath its lair.
And your question will thus be answered
For the flag of England is there!

by Henry Dupre LaBouchere

21st-Apr-2016 01:00 am - The Wolfe Tones, 'Banna Strand'
Duath
Banna Strand

'Twas on Good Friday morning, all on an April day
A German ship was signalling, way out there in the bay.
'We've twenty thousand rifles here, all ready for to land.'
But no answering signal came to them from lonely Banna Strand.

A motor-car went dashing through the early morning gloom.
A sudden crash, and in the sea, they went to meet their doom
Two Irish lads were drown'ded there, just like their hopes so grand
They would not give the signal now from lonely Banna Strand.

'No signal answers from the shore,' Sir Roger sadly said,
'No comrades here to welcome me, alas! they must be dead;
But I must do my duty, and at once I mean to land,'
So in a boat he pulled ashore to lonely Banna Strand.

The German ship was lying there, with rifles in galore.
Up came a British ship and spoke, 'No Germans reach the shore;
You are our Empire's enemy, and so we bid you stand.
No German boot shall e'er pollute the lonely Banna Strand.'

As they sailed for Queenstown Harbour, said the Germans: 'We're undone
The British have us vanquish'd: man for man and gun for gun.
We've twenty thousand rifles here, that never will reach land.
We'll sink them all, and bid farewell to lonely Banna Strand.'

The R.I.C. were hunting for Sir Roger high and low,
They found him at McKenna's Fort, said they: 'You are our foe.'
Said he: 'I'm Roger Casement, here upon my native land,
I meant to free my countrymen on lonely Banna Strand.'

They took Sir Roger prisoner and they sailed for London Town,
Where in the Tow'r they laid him, as a traitor to the Crown.
Said he, 'I am no traitor,' but his trial he had to stand,
for bringing German rifles to lonely Banna Strand.

'Twas in an English prison that they led him to his death.
'I'm dying for my country dear,' he said with his last breath.
He's buried in a prison yard, far from his native land
And the wild waves sing his Requiem on lonely Banna Strand.

They took Sir Roger home again in the year of sixty five
And with his comrades of sixteen in peace and tranquil lies
His last fond wish it fulfilled for to lay in his native land
And the waves will roll in peace again On the lonely Banna Strand.

By 'The Wolfe Tones'

Sir Roger David Casement

20th-Apr-2016 12:00 am - Leon Gellert, 'Rendezvous'
Duath
Rendezvous

Long before the dawn breaks
With a bird's cry,
I'll be hustling on the wind
Out where you lie -
Hurrying to our rendezvous
Under the April sky.
I'll step from out the sea again
To the shoulder of the land,
And pass the dead boy where he lies
Prone on the tideless strand,
Treading lightly lest I move
His fingers in the sand.

Do you remember how you stopped
After the sudden climb,
Sniffing the air as one who comes
On a holy thing sublime?
I'll meet you where the breeze brought
The first scent of thyme.
I'll meet you where we yearned that morn.
Under the April sky,
Waiting on our bellies there
For the battle cry.

I'll meet you where I left you there
Lying all awry.
You said, "We will continue the
Discussion by and by."
. . . . . . . .

If I could but remember what
We spoke of, you and I!

by Leon Gellert
19th-Apr-2016 01:00 am - Rise Against, 'Dirt And Roses'
Duath
Dirt and Roses

This city grieves like widows clasping folded flags against their hearts
Raindrops spill like dirt and roses on black coffins in the dark
Not yet corpses, still we rot, oblivious to our decay
Drinking poison, drop by drop, descend to dark

Unless we save our lives
From the coming tide
That seeks to drown us in its waves
But if we sell our soul
For the chance of gold
Then we'll rue each passing day


And I swear this place once was alive
The streets all pulsed like living veins
Heart was beating cars with blood
The buildings breathe each time they sway

Time of death
Punctuated by the bells
The sky turned red
Then came the rain

Come on let's save our lives
From the coming tide
That seeks to drown us in its waves
But if we sell our soul
For the chance of gold
Then we'll rue each passing day.


They drown, they'll crush you from the top
I'd rather die,
I would rather chase them down
These worlds are crashing forward,
They try to set alight
Build our true fates while they drown

Like fallen soldiers on these fields
We spared our lives
Bodies holed up on the wheels
I swear we tried
I gave up on this godforsaken sight,
And felt it all pass by.

Come on let's save our lives
From the coming tide
That seeks to drown us in its waves
But if we sell our soul
For the chance of gold
Then we'll rue each passing day.


So save our
(Save our lives)
Our lives,
it's coming clear,
Yeah it's been coming clear
(Coming clear)
To me...

We'll never sell our soul
For the chance of gold
And we'll live each passing day

By 'Rise Against'

Duath
The Silver Music

In Chepstow stands a castle—
My love and I went there.
The foxgloves on the wall all heard
Her footsteps on the stair.

The sun was high in heaven,
And the perfume in the air
Came from purple cat’s-valerian …
But her footsteps on the stair
Made a sound like silver music
Through the perfume in the air.

Oh I’m weary for the castle,
And I’m weary for the Wye;
And the flowered walls are purple,
And the purple walls are high,
And above the cat’s-valerian
The foxgloves brush the sky.
But I must plod along the road
That leads to Germany.

And another soldier fellow
Shall come courting of my dear;
And it’s I shall not be with her
With my lips beside her ear.
For it’s he shall walk beside her
In the perfume of the air
To the silver, silver music
Of her footstep on the stair.

By Ford Madox Hueffer (Ford)
17th-Apr-2016 12:00 am - The Wolfe Tones, 'Catalpa'
Duath
Catalpa

Now come all ye gallant Irishmen and a story I'll relate
I'll tell to you of the Fenian men who from the foe escaped
Though bound with Saxon chains in a dark Australian jail
They struck a blow for freedom and for New York town set sail
On the 17th of April in the year of '83
The gallant bark Catalpa from Freemantle town did flee
She showed the green above the red as she calmly made her way
Prepared to take those Fenian men to safety o'er the sea

Here's to the ship Catalpa and the boys of Uncle Sam
And to all the Irishmen afloat and the Fenians to a man
Here's to Captain Anthony, bold Breslin and his crew
When challenged by the empire's might, the Stars and Stripes he flew!


Then Breslin and brave Desmond had Catalpa taut and trim
When fast approaching them they saw a vision dark and dim
It was the gunboat Georgette and 'long her deck there stood
One hundred hired assassins to shed the patriots' blood
"My ship is sailing peacefully beneath the flag of stars
She's manned by Irish hearts of oak and manly Yankee tars
And that dear emblem to the fore so plain for to be seen
Is the banner to protect and mind - old Ireland's flag of green!"

One hundred years have passed and gone since the day in New York Bay
All sorts of floats and ships and boats were there - hip hip hooray!
They say that eighty thousand men about the rescue new
Not a word was spoke and it was some joke on John Bull's navy too
And here's to Captain Anthony who well these men did free
He dared the English navy men to fight him on the sea
To John Devoy, his name held high, and all friends to be seen
The flag for which our heroes fought was Ireland's flag of green!

By 'The Wolfe Tones'

The Catalpa Rescue, April 17, 1876

16th-Apr-2016 01:00 am - Traditional, 'Sound The Pibroch'
Duath
Sound The Pibroch

Sound the pibroch loud and high
Frae John o' Groats tae Isle o' Skye
Let every clan their slogan cry
Rise and follow Charlie

Tha tighin fodham, fodham, fodham
Tha tighin fodham, fodham, fodham
Tha tighin fodham, fodham, fodham
Rise and follow Charlie


See that small devoted band
By dark Loch Shiel they've made their stand
And bravely vowed wi' heart and hand
To rise and Royal Charlie

From every hill and every glen
Are gatherin' fast the loyal men
They grasp their dirks and shout again
Hurrah for Royal Charlie

On dark Culloden's field of gore
Hark they shout Claymore, Claymore
They bravely fight what can they more
Than die for Royal Charlie

Now on the barren heath they lie
Their Funeral Dirge the eagle's cry
Mountain breezes o'er them sigh
Wha' fought and died for Charlie

No more we'll see such deeds again
Deserted is each Highland glen
And lonely cairns are o'er the men
Wha' fought and died for Charlie

Sound the pibroch loud and high
Frae John o' Groats tae Isle o' Skye
Let every clan their slogan cry
Rise and follow Charlie

Tha tighin fodham, fodham, fodham
Tha tighin fodham, fodham, fodham
Tha tighin fodham, fodham, fodham
Rise and follow Charlie


Traditional

["Tha tighin fodham" is pronounced HATCHEEN FOAM and means "it comes upon me" or "I have the wish".]

Battle of Culloden, April 16, 1746

Duath
On the Italian Front, MCMXVI

“I will die cheering, if I needs must die;
So shall my last breath write upon my lips
Viva Italia! when my spirit slips
Down the great darkness from the mountain sky;
And those who shall behold me where I lie
Shall murmur: ‘Look, you! how his spirit dips
From glory into glory! the eclipse
Of death is vanquished! Lo, his victor-cry!’

“Live, thou, upon my lips, Italia mine,
The sacred death-cry of my frozen clay!
Let thy dear light from my dead body shine
And to the passer-by thy message say:
‘Ecco! though heaven has made my skies divine,
My sons’ love sanctifies my soil for aye!’”

By George Edward Woodberry
14th-Apr-2016 01:00 am - F.S. Flint, 'War-Time'
Duath
War-Time

If I go out of the door,
it will not be
to take the road to the left that leads
past the bovine quiet of houses
brooding over the cud of their daily content,
even though
the tranquillity of their gardens
is a lure that once was stronger;
even though
from privet hedge and mottled laurel
the young green peeps,
and the daffodils
and the yellow and white and purple crocuses
laugh from the smooth mould
of the garden beds
to the upright golden buds of the chestnut trees.
I shall not see
the almond blossom shaming
the soot-black boughs.

But to the right the road will lead me
to greater and greater disquiet;
into the swift rattling noise of the motor-'busses,
and the dust, the tattered paper—
the detritus of a city—
that swirls in the air behind them.
I will pass the shops where the prices
are judged day by day by the people,
and come to the place where five roads meet
with five tram-routes,
and where amid the din
of the vans, the lorries, the motor-'busses,
the clangorous tram-cars,
the news is shouted,
and soldiers gather, off-duty.

Here I can feel the heat of Europe's fever;
and I can make,
as each man makes the beauty of the woman he loves,
no spring and no woman's beauty,
while that is burning.

By F.S. Flint
Duath
Keeping the Distance

Beneath this earth young warriors sleep
Forever more, forever more,
And for what myth was it they died,
Who sent them here forever?
To bury them, so far away
From farm and village, hearth and soil?
We dare not ask of why or how,
We dare not think too hard of them!
We need not question of ourselves,
Of how we let them go so far,
So we may keep our distance safe
Can paint their pictures in our mind
Of how they sacrificed their lives;
Of how they died so willingly,
On land that did not give them birth,

Noblesse Oblige, they sleep the earth.
We know they did not wail or scream,
Nor cry nor piss their pants in fear!,
They did not spill their crimson guts
Through gaping wounds of steel-sliced flesh,
Or stare in numbness at their blood
That pulsed and squirted, stained the soil.

We know they did not weep for mother,
Nor curse their fate nor bawl in pain,
Or seek to find their missing limbs,
While dragging stumps through fiery ground,
Or smelled their own flesh, burning stench!
Nor whimpered soft through blood blind eyes,
As whistling breath through gaping throats
Shot out their life in scarlet spurts.

We do not wish them here at home
To find eternal, lasting sleep,
No, better stay in foreign lands,
Where they sacrificed their life,
No, t’is better they remain unseen,
To keep their distance and our dream
To keep them heroes, sight unseen,

For sure, they died as noble men,
Not terror-stricken sons and boys,
For if this myth were proved untrue,
How could we ever face ourselves?
How could we ever…be so cruel?

By Curtis D Bennett
12th-Apr-2016 01:00 am - Rise Against, 'Bricks'
Duath
Bricks

When faith alone is not enough,
To keep our heads barely above,
We look for reason and come up empty-handed.
And when our children fight our wars,
While we sit back just keeping score,
We're teaching murder not understanding now.

We're setting the fires to light the way,
We're burning it all to begin again,
With hope in our hearts and bricks in our hands,
We sing for change


The lives our buried sons have laid,
Won't cancel debts we've yet to pay,
In death, we justify anything now,
As long as we blindly obey and do exactly what they say,
We'll have no one to blame, but ourselves now.

We're setting the fires to light the way,
We're burning it all to begin again,
With hope in our hearts and bricks in our hands,
We sing for change.


We run on the fumes of injustice,
We'll never die with the fuel that you give us,
Keep it coming 'cause I'm prepared to burn,
Keep running, find me at every turn.

Your life around,
(into something true, into something true)
So turn your life around,
(into something true, something true)

We're setting the fires to light the way,
We're burning it all to begin again,
With hope in our hearts and bricks in our hands,
We sing for change.


By 'Rise Against'

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