[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Man He Killed

"Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him and he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because –
Because he was my foe,
Just so – my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list perhaps,
Off-hand like – just as I –
Was out of work – had sold his traps –
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat if met where any bar is,
Or help to half-a-crown."

By Thomas Hardy

http://youtu.be/j7-evywaEVY

[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Channel Firing

That night your great guns, unawares,
Shook all our coffins as we lay,
And broke the chancel window-squares,
We thought it was the Judgment-day

And sat upright. While drearisome
Arose the howl of wakened hounds,
The mouse let fall the altar-crumb,
The worms drew back into the mounds,

The grebe cow drooled. Till God called, "No,
It's gunnery practice out at sea.
Just as before you went below,
The world is as it used to be:

"All nations striving strong to make
Red war yet redder. Mad as hatters,
They do no more for Christ's sake
Than you who are helpless in such matters.

"That this is not the judgment-hour,
For some of them's a blessed thing,
For if it were, they'd have to scour
Hell's floor for so much threatening . . .

"Ha, ha! It will be warmer when
I blow the trumpet (if indeed
I ever do -- for you are men,
And rest eternal sorely need)."

So down we lay again. "I wonder,
Will the world ever saner be,"
Said one, "than when He sent us under
In our indifferent century!"

And many a skeleton shook his head.
"Instead of preaching forty year,"
My neighbour Parson Thirdly said,
"I wish I had stuck to pipes and beer."

Again the guns disturbed the hour,
Roaring their readiness to avenge,
As far inland as Stourton Tower,
And Camelot, and starlit Stonehenge.

by Thomas Hardy
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Men Who March Away
(Song of the Soldiers)

What of the faith and fire within us
Men who march away
Ere the barn-cocks say
Night is growing gray,
To hazards whence no tears can win us;
What of the faith and fire within us
Men who march away?

Is it a purblind prank, O think you,
Friend with the musing eye
Who watch us stepping by,
With doubt and dolorous sigh?
Can much pondering so hoodwink you!
Is it a purblind prank, O think you,
Friend with the musing eye?

Nay. We see well what we are doing,
Though some may not see –
Dalliers as they be –
England’s need are we;
Her distress would leave us rueing:
Nay. We well see what we are doing,
Though some may not see!

In our heart of hearts believing
Victory crowns the just,
And that braggarts must
Surely bite the dust,
Press we to the field ungrieving,
In our heart of hearts believing
Victory crowns the just.

Hence the faith and fire within us
Men who march away
Ere the barn-cocks say
Night is growing gray,
Leaving all that here can win us;
Hence the faith and fire within us
Men who march away.

By Thomas Hardy, September 5, 1914
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Then and Now

When battles were fought
With a chivalrous sense of should and ought,
In spirit men said,
“End we quick or dead,
Honour is some reward!
Let us fight fair—for our own best or worst;
So, Gentlemen of the Guard,
Fire first!”

In the open they stood,
Man to man in his knightlihood:
They would not deign
To profit by a stain
On the honourable rules,
Knowing that practise perfidy no man durst
Who in the heroic schools
Was nurst.

But now, behold, what
Is war with those where honour is not!
Rama laments
Its dead innocents;
Herod howls: “Sly slaughter
Rules now! Let us, by modes once called accurst,
Overhead, under water,
Stab first.”

By Thomas Hardy
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Man He Killed

"Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him and he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because –
Because he was my foe,
Just so – my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list perhaps,
Off-hand like – just as I –
Was out of work – had sold his traps –
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat if met where any bar is,
Or help to half-a-crown."

by Thomas Hardy
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Jezreel
On its seizure by the English under Allenby, September 1918

Did they catch as it were in a Vision at shut of the day—
When their cavalry smote through the ancient Esdraelon Plain,
And they crossed where the Tishbite stood forth in his enemy's way—
His gaunt mournful Shade as he bade the King haste off amain?

On war-men at this end of time—even on Englishmen's eyes—
Who slay with their arms of new might in that long-ago place,
Flashed he who drove furiously? . . . Ah, did the phantom arise
Of that queen, of that proud Tyrian woman who painted her face?

Faintly marked they the words “Throw her down!” from the Night eerily,
Spectre-spots of the blood of her body on some rotten wall?
And the thin note of pity that came: “A King's daughter is she,”
As they passed where she trodden was once by the chargers' footfall?

Could such be the hauntings of men of to-day, at the cease
Of pursuit, at the dusk-hour, ere slumber their senses could seal?
Enghosted seers, kings — one on horseback who asked “Is it peace?” . . .
Yea, strange things and spectral may men have beheld in Jezreel!

by Edward Thomas

Battle of Megiddo, September 19-25, 1918
[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Drummer Hodge

They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest
Uncoffined – just as found:
His landmark is a kopje-crest
That breaks the veldt around;
And foreign constellations west
Each night above his mound.

Young Hodge the Drummer never knew –
Fresh from his Wessex home –
The meaning of the broad Karoo,
The Bush, the dusty loam,
And why uprose to nightly view
Strange stars amid the gloam.

Yet portion of that unknown plain
Will Hodge forever be;
His homely Northern breast and brain
Grow to some Southern tree,
And strange-eyed constellation reign
His stars eternally.

by Thomas Hardy

[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Channel Firing

That night your great guns, unawares,
Shook all our coffins as we lay,
And broke the chancel window-squares,
We thought it was the Judgment-day

And sat upright. While drearisome
Arose the howl of wakened hounds,
The mouse let fall the altar-crumb,
The worms drew back into the mounds,

The grebe cow drooled. Till God called, "No,
It's gunnery practice out at sea.
Just as before you went below,
The world is as it used to be:

"All nations striving strong to make
Red war yet redder. Mad as hatters,
They do no more for Christ's sake
Than you who are helpless in such matters.

"That this is not the judgment-hour,
For some of them's a blessed thing,
For if it were, they'd have to scour
Hell's floor for so much threatening . . .

"Ha, ha! It will be warmer when
I blow the trumpet (if indeed
I ever do -- for you are men,
And rest eternal sorely need)."

So down we lay again. "I wonder,
Will the world ever saner be,"
Said one, "than when He sent us under
In our indifferent century!"

And many a skeleton shook his head.
"Instead of preaching forty year,"
My neighbour Parson Thirdly said,
"I wish I had stuck to pipes and beer."

Again the guns disturbed the hour,
Roaring their readiness to avenge,
As far inland as Stourton Tower,
And Camelot, and starlit, Stonehenge.

by Thomas Hardy

[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
The Man He Killed

"Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him and he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because –
Because he was my foe,
Just so – my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list perhaps,
Off-hand like – just as I –
Was out of work – had sold his traps –
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat if met where any bar is,
Or help to half-a-crown."

~Thomas Hardy

[Am I the only one left in this community?]

Profile

War Poetry

January 2017

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 91011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 07:20 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios