I do not know your name, but I know you died I do not know from where you came, but I know you died
Your uniform, branch of service, it matters not to me Whether Volunteer or Conscript, or how it came to be That politicians failures, or some power-mad ambition Brought you too soon to your death, in the name of any nation
You saw, you felt, you knew full well, as friend and foe were taken By bloody death, that your life too, was forfeit and forsaken Yet on you went and fought and died, in your close and private hell For Mate or Pal or Regiment and memories never to tell
It was for each other, through shot and shell, the madness you endured Side by side, through wound and pain, and comradeship assured No family ties, or bloodline link, could match that bond of friend Who shared the horror and kept on going, at last until the end
We cannot know, we were not there, it's beyond our comprehension To know the toll that battle brings, of resolute intention To carry on, day by day, for all you loved and hoped for To live in peace a happy life, away from bloody war
For far too many, no long life ahead, free of struggle and pain and the gun And we must remember the price that was paid, by each and every one Regardless of views, opinions aside, no matter how each of us sees it They were there and I cannot forget, even though I did not live it
I do not know your name, but I know you died I do not know from where you came, but I know you died.
In Flanders fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses, row on row,That mark our place; and in the skyThe larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days agoWe lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,Loved and were loved, and now we lieIn Flanders fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:To you from failing hands we throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high.If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep,though poppies growIn Flanders fields.
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,Sleep sweet - to rise anew!We caught the torch you threwAnd holding high, we keep the FaithWith All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy redThat grows on fields where valor led;It seems to signal to the skiesThat blood of heroes never dies,But lends a lustre to the redOf the flower that blooms above the deadIn Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy RedWe wear in honor of our dead.Fear not that ye have died for naught;We'll teach the lesson that ye wroughtIn Flanders Fields.
I come and stand at every doorBut no one hears my silent treadI knock and yet remain unseenFor I am dead, for I am dead.I'm only seven although I diedIn Hiroshima long agoI'm seven now as I was thenWhen children die they do not grow.My hair was scorched by swirling flameMy eyes grew dim, my eyes grew blindDeath came and turned my bones to dustAnd that was scattered by the wind.I need no fruit, I need no riceI need no sweet, nor even breadI ask for nothing for myselfFor I am dead, for I am dead.All that I ask is that for peaceYou fight today, you fight todaySo that the children of this worldMay live and grow and laugh and play.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
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 tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped 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.
No doubt they'll soon get well; the shock and strainHave 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 cowedSubjection to the ghosts of friends who died, — Their dreams that drip with murder; and they'll be proudOf 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.
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.Shovel them under and let me work—I am the grass; I cover all.And pile them high at GettysburgAnd pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.Shovel them under and let me work.Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:What place is this?Where are we now?I am the grass.Let me work.
Their sacrifice is lined in rowsSide by side, and head to toeSome have crosses others starsSome wore stripes, and others barsA generation lost to GodFor whom a nation criedA memory now almost lostOf how and why they diedPerhaps it’s just the way of thingsAnd wars throughout all timeThat nations give their finestTo be cut down in their primeOr maybe it’s the price of peaceAnd the hope of lessons learnedIf so, then don’t forget themOr the thanks that they have earned
When I was a young man I carried my packAnd I lived the free life of a roverFrom the murrays green basin to the dusty outbackI waltzed my matilda all overThen in nineteen fifteen my country said sonIts time to stop rambling cause theres work to be doneSo they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gunAnd they sent me away to the warAnd the band played waltzing matildaAs we sailed away from the quayAnd amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheersWe sailed off to gallipoliHow well I remember that terrible dayWhen the blood stained the sand and the waterAnd how in that hell that they called suvla bayWe were butchered like lambs at the slaughterJohnny turk he was ready, he primed himself wellHe showered us with bullets, he rained us with shellsAnd in five minutes flat hed blown us all to hellNearly blew us right back to australiaBut the band played waltzing matildaAs we stopped to bury our slainAnd we buried ours and the turks buried theirsThen it started all over againNow those who were living did their best to surviveIn that mad world of blood, death and fireAnd for seven long weeks I kept myself alivewhile the corpses around me piled higherThen a big turkish shell knocked me arse over titAnd when I woke up in my hospital bedAnd saw what it had done, christ I wished I was deadNever knew there were worse things than dyingand no more Ill go waltzing matildato the green bushes so far and nearFor to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legsNo more waltzing matilda for meSo they collected the cripples, the wounded and maimedAnd they shipped us back home to australiaThe legless, the armless, the blind and insaneThose proud wounded heroes of suvlaAnd as our ship pulled into circular quayI looked at the place where me legs used to beAnd thank christ there was nobody waiting for meTo grieve and to mourn and to pityAnd the band played waltzing matildaAs they carried us down the gangwayBut nobody cheered, they just stood and staredand they turned all their faces awayAnd now every april I sit on my porchAnd I watch the parade pass before meI see my old comrades, how proudly they marchReliving the dreams of past gloryI see the old men, all twisted and tornThe forgotten heroes of a forgotten warAnd the young people ask me, what are they marching for? And I ask myself the same questionAnd the band plays waltzing matildaAnd the old men still answer to the callBut year after year their numbers get fewerSome day no one will march there at allWaltzing matilda, waltzing matildaWho'll go a-waltzing matilda with me?
He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the parkVoices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,Voices of play and pleasure after day,Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
About this time Town used to swing so gayWhen glow-lamps budded in the light-blue treesAnd girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,— In the old times, before he threw away his knees.Now he will never feel again how slimGirls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,All of them touch him like some queer disease.
There was an artist silly for his face,For it was younger than his youth, last year.Now he is old; his back will never brace;He's lost his colour very far from here,Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race,And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg,After the matches carried shoulder-high.It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,He thought he'd better join. He wonders why . . .Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts.
That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts,He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years.Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fearsOf Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hiltsFor daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.
Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.Only a solemn man who brought him fruitsThanked him; and then inquired about his soul.Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes,And do what things the rules consider wise,And take whatever pity they may dole.To-night he noticed how the women's eyesPassed from him to the strong men that were whole.How cold and late it is! Why don't they comeAnd put him into bed? Why don't they come?
Do not stand at my grave and weepI am not there, I do not sleep.I am a thousand winds that blow.I am the diamond glints on snow.I am the sunlight on ripened grain.I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awakenIn the morning’s hush,I am the swift uplifting rushOf quiet birds in circled flight.I am the soft stars that shine at night.Do not stand at my grave and cry,I am not there, I did not die.
thanks for all this, I've not seen the Sasoon since doing O'level Eng. Lit. a year or two ago...
Some very moving and poignant pieces, no Kipling though? Must be something appropriate to this thread.
Nice one, Parky. Some marvellous poetry there. Can you PM me the authors of the Aussie stuff , please?
Wilfred Owen was a great poet - tragically killed in the closing days of the war.
Sassoon survived and I like this one:
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on - and out of sight.
Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away ... O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
Jeez, how do you get rid of the paragraph breaks?
Nick Hughes wrote (see)
Hi Parky,Some very moving and poignant pieces, no Kipling though? Must be something appropriate to this thread.
Kipling's a bit tricky in the context of WWI.
His only son was killed on the Western front, despite his being unfit for active service. Kipling pulled some strings and got his son John a commission in the Irish Guards - he was killed in his first battle and I don't think Kipling ever got over the guilt.
He's still a great poet, though.
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