Category Archives: War

Our Country

To all who hope for Freedom’s gleam
Across the warring years,
Who offer life to build a dream
In laughter or in tears,
To all who toil, unmarked, unknown,
By city, field or sea,
I give my heart, I reach my hand,
A common hope, a common land
Is made of you and me.

For we have loved her summer dawns
Beyond the misty hill,
And we have shared her toil, her fruit
Of farm and shop and mill.
Our weaknesses have made her shame,
Our strength has built her powers,
And we have hoped and we have striven
That to her children might be given
A fairer world than ours.

We dreamed to hold her safe, apart
From strife; the dream was vain.
Her heart is now earth’s bleeding heart,
She shares the whole earth’s pain.
To men oppressed in all the lands
One flashing hope has gone,
One vision wide as earth appears,
We seek, across the warring years,
The gray world’s golden dawn.

~Anna Louise Strong~

The Flag of Peace

Men long have fought for their flying flags,
They have died those flags to save;
Their long staves rest on the shattered breast,
They are planted deep in the grave.
Now the world’s new flag is streaming wide,
Far-flying wide and high.
It shall cover the earth from side to side
As the rainbow rings the sky.

The flag of the day when men shall stand
For service, not for fight;
When every race, in every land,
Shall join for the world’s delight;
When all our flags shall blend in one,
And all our wars shall cease,
‘Neath the new flag, the true flag,
The rainbow flag of peace.

~Charlotte Perkins Gilman~

Carry On!

They have not fought in vain, our dead
Who sleep amid the poppies red:
Their plea, attested with their blood,
By all the world is understood.

They fought for peace, as now do we;
Their conflict was for liberty,
For freedom from the blight of war—
And is that still worth fighting for?

We strive no longer men in arms;
We fight not, stirred by war’s alarms:
We vow to seal our broken past
With fellowship and friendship fast.

By those who faced the battling years
Let earth forget her warlike fears,
That Freedom, idol of our sires,
May pledge to all her sacred fires.

~Thomas Curtis Clark~

The Soldier

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, blest by 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 at peace, under an English heaven.

~Rupert Brooke~

A Mother Understands

Dear Lord, I hold my hand to take
Thy body broken once for me,
Accept the sacrifice I make,
My body, broken, Christ, for Thee.

His was my body, born of me,
Born of my bitter travail pain,
And it lies broken on the field,
Swept by the wind and the rain.

Surely a Mother understands Thy thorn-crowned head,
The mystery of Thy pierced hands—the Broken Bread.

~G. A. Studdert-Kennedy~

Dulce et Decorum Est

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 gas-shells dropping softly 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.

~Wilfred Owen~

Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori: It is sweet and right to die for your country

The Greatest Battle That Ever Was Fought

The greatest battle that ever was fought—
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you will find it not:
It was fought by the Mothers of Men.

Not with cannon or battle shot,
With sword or nobler pen;
Not with eloquent word or thought
From the wonderful minds of men;

But deep in a walled up woman’s heart;
A woman that would not yield;
But bravely and patiently bore her part;
Lo! there is that battlefield.

No marshalling troops, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam and wave;
But Oh these battles they last so long—
From babyhood to the grave!

But faithful still as a bridge of stars
She fights in her walled up town;
Fights on, and on, in the endless wars;
Then silent, unseen goes down!

Ho! ye with banners and battle shot,
With soldiers to shout and praise,
I tell you the kingliest victories fought
Are fought in these silent ways.
~Joaquin Miller~

Wage-Slaves to War-Makers

We have no land for which to fight
Except where Russia cracks the night.
This is your land, within your power.
We break the rock; you pluck the flower.
We build the roads on which you speed.
And when we strike for what we need
We learn at once how well you own
The press, the courts and every stone
Of every structure that we rear.
Say, what invaders shall we fear?
Why should we care out on the job
If you or others drive and rob?

We have no land for which to fight
Though all the world is ours by right.
We workers grimed with soot and mud
Have shed enough and more of blood.
Each office-building overhead
Is built on corpses of our dead.
We have no quarrel across the foam
But here within our jail, your home!
We give our pledge we shall not kill,
For ours the braver, kinder will.
But if you force us till we do,
It will be you, it will be you!

~Ralph Cheyney~

Five Souls

First Soul
I was a peasant of the Polish plain;
I left my plough because the message ran:-
Russia, in danger, needed every man
To save her from the Teuton; and was slain.
I gave my life for freedom – This I know
For those who bade me fight had told me so.

Second Soul
I was a Tyrolese, a mountaineer;
I gladly left my mountain home to fight
Against the brutal treacherous Muscovite;
And died in Poland on a Cossack spear.
I gave my life for freedom – This I know
For those who bade me fight had told me so.

Third Soul
I worked in Lyons at my weaver’s loom,
When suddenly the Prussian despot hurled
His felon blow at France and at the world;
Then I went forth to Belgium and my doom.
I gave my life for freedom – This I know
For those who bade me fight had told me so.

Fourth Soul
I owned a vineyard by the wooded Main,
Until the Fatherland, begirt by foes
Lusting her downfall, called me, and I rose
Swift to the call – and died in far Lorraine.
I gave my life for freedom – This I know
For those who bade me fight had told me so.

Fifth Soul
I worked in a great shipyard by the Clyde;
There came a sudden word of wars declared,
Of Belgium, peaceful, helpless, unprepared,
Asking our aid: I joined the ranks, and died.
I gave my life for freedom – This I know
For those who bade me fight had told me so.

~William Norman Ewer~

I Am Not A Badge Of Honour

I am not a badge of honour,
I am not a racist smear,
I am not a fashion statement,
To be worn but once a year.

I am not glorification
Of conflict or of war.
I am not a paper ornament
A token, I am more.

I am a loving memory,
Of a father or a son,
A permanent reminder
Of each and every one.

I’m paper or enamel
I’m old or shining new,
I’m a way of saying thank you,
To every one of you.

I am a simple poppy
A Reminder to you all,
That courage faith and honour,
Will stand where heroes fall.

~Paul Hunter~

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