One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life  (Psalm 27:4)
Elizabeth McDonald     http://www.bayith.org     bayith@blueyonder.co.uk
Please note that the inclusion of any poem or item on this page does not imply we would necessarily endorse the source from which the extract is taken; neither can we necessarily vouch for any other materials by the same authors, or any groups or ministries or websites with which they may associated, or any periodicals to which they may contribute, or the beliefs of whatever kind they may hold, or any other aspect of their work or ministry or position.

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Remembrance Sunday
At the Going Down of the Sun, and in the Morning, We Will Remember Them

The Centenary of Armistice Day ~
The Great War 1918~2018
11th November 2018



Poems for the Fallen

Poems:

Remembrance  |  In Flanders Fields  |  For the Fallen  |  The Soldier  |  Dulce et Decorum Est
Suicide in the Trenches  |  Aftermath  |  Tommy  |  England, My England / The Soldier  

Never Forgotten   |   May We Never Forget   |   To the Female Suffering From A Severe Case of 'White Privilege' and Self-Hatred

Lost Causes   |   Poor Fools   |   The Great War 1914~1918: Articles and Videos

The Great War 1914~1918: Quotes and Comments   |   The Great War 1914~1918: Books and Websites


The Last Post

 

War Poets

"A war poet is a poet who participates in a war and writes about his experiences, or a non-combatant who writes poems about war. While the term is applied especially to those who served during World War I, the term can be applied to a poet of any nationality writing about any war ... In World War I, for the first time, a substantial number of important British poets were soldiers, writing about their experiences of war. A number of them died on the battlefield ... [others] survived but were scarred by their experiences, and this was reflected in their poetry ... Many poems by British war poets were published in newspapers and then collected in anthologies. Several of these anthologies were published during the war and were very popular, though the tone of the poetry changed as the war progressed..."

The Muse in Arms

"The Muse in Arms is an anthology of British war poetry published in November 1917 during World War I. It consists of 131 poems by 52 contributors, with the poems divided into fourteen thematic sections. The poets were all from three branches of the armed services, land, sea, and air, from a range of ranks (though mostly officers) and from many parts of the UK. Twenty of the poets who contributed to this volume died during the war..."

Why the War Poets Matter

"The strength of the war poets ... is not that they are all that representative of the opinions of the time. It would be foolish to think that poetry ought to be representative. Their strength really comes from the way that they reworked the words and thoughts of the time and rose above the immediacy of war fervour. They were blessed, if that is not too grotesque a word, with a deeply poetic and literary moment, where words rose up to lead men on to extraordinary deeds..."

Reflections on Remembrance Sunday, 11th November 2018: A Poem to Remember

"Brave soldiers in their graves revolve as EU leaders now resolve to render hard won victories to nought / On foreign soil in two world wars, they kept invaders from our shores..."

 

Poems

Remembrance  (by Lawrence A. Foxen)

"'In Flanders fields, the poppies grow',  Those famous words that we all know.  But through the year and in November,  Do we truly all remember?..."

In Flanders Fields  (by John McCrae, MD)

"On May 2, 1915, John McCrae's close friend and former student Alexis Helmer was killed by a German shell ... The next day ... as John McCrae was writing his In Flanders Fields poem, Sergeant-Major Cyril Allinson silently watched and later recalled, 'His face was very tired but clam as he wrote. He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave ... when he was done, without a word, McCrae handed the poem to Allinson. Allinson was deeply moved..."

For the Fallen  (by Robert Laurence Binyon)

"The poem was written in mid September 1914, a few weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. During these weeks the British Expeditionary Force had suffered casualties following its first encounter with the Imperial German Army at the Battle of Mons on 23 August ... Laurence said in 1939 that the four lines of the fourth stanza came to him first. These words of the fourth stanza have become especially familiar and famous..."

The Soldier  (by Rupert Brooke)

"Perhaps his most famous poem, it reflects British sorrow over and pride in the young men who died in World War I. Narrated in the first person by an English soldier, the poem is sentimental, patriotic, and epitaphic. In the closing sestet, the poem's speaker suggests that his soul is eternally linked with England. The poem's familiar opening lines acquired even greater poignancy as a result of Brooke's own wartime death" [Encyclopaedia Britannica].

Dulce et Decorum Est  (by Wilfred Owen)

"They would not print Wilfred Owen's poem until after the war. Wilfred Owen died on the last day of war 1918. For me, he epitomises Soldier X" [viewer's comment at source].

Suicide in the Trenches  (by Siegfried Sassoon)

"This is one of the many poems the poet Siegfried Sassoon composed in response to World War I, reflecting his own notable service in that especially bloody conflict. Sassoon was a brave and gallant upper-class officer who eventually opposed the war, but never lost his admiration for the common soldiers who had to fight it. Sassoon felt contempt for the political leaders and civilian war hawks who, safe in their power and comfort, sent young men off to die in huge battles that seemed futile and pointless ... [and] brought home to an uninformed public the true reality of the ghastly nature of the war" [source].

Aftermath  (by Siegfried Sassoon)

Readers' comments:  "Very emotional and captures the horrific scenes"  /  "These war poems make one remember those who served ... and those who need to be honoured by us"  /  "This poem is going to haunt me for a long time. Powerful. Heartbreaking. Wise. And it hurts in that way that truth has of hurting"  /  "Raw and emotional, this poem really hits home, and shows the brutal and vicious cycle that is war"  /  "First hand account of the futility of war"

Tommy  (by Rudyard Kipling)

"'Tommy' is such a powerful poem with its context percolating through decades at a stretch. At one point, you feel that little knot tighten up in your throat and your mind knows how true the words are. The people, the government, they promise a better lifestyle for the soldiers, but in reality, they didn't even receive extra rations. But Tommy is not a fool..." [source].

YOUTUBE:  Under an English Heaven  (02 January 2018)

Poems:  England, My England by William Ernest Henley, and The Soldier by Rupert Brooke.

YOUTUBE:  The Battle  (Written and Recorded 1969 / Uploaded 08 November 2014)

"In the early dawn the Bishop's men / Shivered in the damp / But the shiver came not from the cold / And spread throughout the camp / The trembling horses sensed the fear / Of silent thoughtful men / Who prayed that wives and families / Might see them once again..."

YOUTUBE:  No Man's Land / Green Fields of France / Willie McBride  (Written 1976 / This Version Uploaded 20 September 2014)

"Well how do you do, Private William McBride / Do you mind if I sit here down by your grave side? / A rest for awhile in the warm summer sun / I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done / And I see by your gravestone that you were only nineteen / When you joined the glorious fallen in nineteen-sixteen..."

 

May We Never Forget

Just 19 years old when some were told
We need you all or our country will fall.
Never knowing for sure if they'd return to shore,
The horror endured as they lost friends adored;
Unbearably worse than they could possibly converse.
Is it too much to ask that their dreadful task
be remembered whatever with thanks forever?...

[source]

 

Never Forgotten

Men in trenches, bit by rats, foul putrid gas tears through the air,
Ice cold mud seeps through their bones, while death beckons everywhere...
Bodies strewn across the land, and hung on fences high,
Blazing guns still fire in frenzy, blocking out a young man's cry;
He was one of many millions, who died in no man's land
Who would never again kiss their children
or hold their sweetheart's hand.
Who would never again hug their mother, as she bade him a fond goodnight;
Who would never again shake their father's hand, or tell jokes by the firelight.
For four long years the battle raged, till it finally fell to its knees,
And in the fields of France where the brave now rest,
Red poppies dance in the breeze.

[From a reader at source]

 

To the Female Suffering From A Severe Case
of 'White Privilege' and Self-Hatred

You seem to think it fun that your ancestors did die, that you have some legitimacy to your treacherous, hateful cry,
You want us to dance on the graves of our men, you scorn them with insults, with your electronic pen,
You giggle and snarl like a degenerate child, thrilled with the commotion of which you have riled.
But know this and listen, the roads where you stand were built and created with those great male hands.
The device which you use to spread all your lies would not even be possible without their death cries.

You cuddle up tight in your soft warm bed; those men slept in trenches where they suffered and bled.
You dwell in an ivory tower shielded by comfortable things, yet you have no knowledge of suffering or the real pain it brings.
Those seats you sit upon up mighty and high are built on the cemeteries of the dead - since for you they did die.
Those graves you dance upon in your frenzy of hate are the graves of those who gave you all you had - and your reply?
Is to berate.

Every comfort you have, every freedom you breathe, it was given as an inheritance, from the men who did bleed,
Everything you know, every simple pleasure, every right, passion, or artistic leisure,
Was given to you by your fathers; by men who loved you dear,
Who were slaughtered like cattle in the millions, just so would know no fear;
Men who gasped for breath as their bodies tormented with pain, died like this for you so you would never feel the same.

Not only did they build everything you see, they sacrificed their lives, for you, and for me.
What sacrifice do you make?  What thanks do you give?
To acknowledge these men who died just so that you and I could live?
You suffer with an ailment, a poison of mind, that even a mere' thank you' you just cannot find.

From a woman.

[Written by a reader at source]

 

Lost Causes by R.H. Nichols

"He paused to puff life into the pipe, a glossy sheen settling over his eyes.  'I have served my country now for more than fifty years,' he went on. 'And in that time, I've fought alongside thousands of men; men from all walks of life; men who were hungry, exhausted, and hopelessly outnumbered; men who were shelled and shot at until they were senseless; men who should have surrendered or run, but, who, through it all, laughed and sang and cried and kept on fighting.  In exchange, they never asked for very much.  Only the promise that what they were dying for wouldn't die with them; that future generations would never forget what they had done; that somehow they, and the values they fought for, would become enshrined ion the nation's consciousness...'

"His speech slowed now, the tone deepening.  'Of course, I can't claim to know what those values were,' he said. 'Every man had his own.  But I do know what they didn't include.  It didn't include a country that would voluntarily surrender its sovereignty to its long-standing enemies.  Nor did they fight for a system which would tax, harass and spy on them every minute of every day; in which they couldn't even say a joke - let alone a much needed home truth - without fear of official reprisal.  And they sure as hell didn't fight and die for a Britain in which their grandchildren would grow up to call them fascists...'

"He paused again, collecting his thoughts.  'I never thought I'd say it, but looking back, the ones that died were the lucky ones.  They didn't live to see the great betrayal that was to follow, to see the wasting of all their efforts.  We couldn't have made it a land less fit for heroes to live in if we'd tried, and to be honest I can't say I care what happens anymore...'"

[Quoted from the novel Lost Causes by a reader at source]

 

Poor Fools

"Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks.
Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools.
And their grandchildren are once more slaves."

[D.H. Lawrence]

 

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.

John McCrae, MD,
Canadian Army (1872-1918)

 

 

 

"[T]he foe of which John McCrae wrote were not the people in the opposite trenches.
The foe were tyranny and dictatorship ... our soldiers knew this ...
Yes, we have indeed dropped the torch! Yes, we have indeed broken faith with those who died and lie in Flanders Fields! ...
and yes, we will have to bear the consequences in the years to come..."

[source]

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

 

 

Bayith Ministries     http://www.bayith.org     bayith@blueyonder.co.uk