Archive for ‘War’

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

A New Touch on the Times by Molly Gutridge

Well adapted to the distressing situation of every Seaport Town
By a Daughter of Liberty, living in Marblehead.

Our best beloved they are gone,
We cannot tell they’ll e’er return,
For they are gone the ocean wide,
Which for us now they must provide.

For they go on the roaring seas,
For which we can’t get any ease,
For they are gone to work for us,
And that it is to fill our purse.

We must do as well as we can,
What could women do without man,
They could not do by night or day,
Go round the world and that they’ll say.

They could not do by day or night,
I think that man’s a woman’s delight,
It’s hard and cruel times to live,
Takes thirty dollars to buy a sieve.

To buy sieves and other things too,
To go thro’ the world how can we do,
For times they sure grow worse and worse,
I’m sure it sinks our scanty purse.

Had we a purse to reach the sky,
It would be all just vanity,
If we had that and ten times more,
’Twould be like sand upon the shore.

For money is not worth a pin,
Had we but felt we’ve any thing,
For salt is all the Farmer’s cry,
If we’ve no salt we sure must die.

We can’t get fire nor yet food,
Takes 20 weight of sugar for two foot of wood,
We cannot get bread nor yet meat,
We see the world is naught but cheat.

We cannot now get meat nor bread
By means of which we [shake our head]
All we can get it is but rice
And that is of a wretched price.

And as we go up and down,
We see the doings of this town.
Some say they an’t victuals nor drink,
Others say they are ready to sink.

Our lives they all are tired here,
We see all things so cruel dear,
Nothing now a-days to be got,
To put in kettle nor in pot.

These times will learn us to be wise,
We now do eat what we despis’d:
I now having something more to say,
We must go up and down the Bay.

To get a fish a-days to fry,
We can’t get fat were we to die,
Were we to try all thro’ the town,
The world is now turn’d upside down.

But there’s a gracious GOD above,
That deals with us in tender love,
If we be kind and just and true,
He’ll set and turn the world anew.

If we’ll repent of all our crimes,
He’ll set us now new heavenly times,
Times that will make us all to ring,
If we forsake our heinous sins.

For sin is all the cause of this,
We must not take it then amiss,
Wan’t it for our polluted tongues
This cruel war would ne’er begun.

We should hear no fife nor drum,
Nor training bands would never come:
Should we go on our sinful course,
Times will grow on us worse and worse.

Then gracious GOD now cause to cease,
This bloody war and give us peace!
And down our streets send plenty then
With hearts as one we’ll say Amen!

If we expect to be forgiv’n,
Let’s tread the road that leads to Heav’n,
In these times we can’t rub along.
I now have ended this my song.

From: Gutridge, Molly, A New Touch on the Times, 2013, Early American Imprints: New York.
(http://americainclass.org/sources/makingrevolution/war/text7/touchonthetimes.pdf)

Date: 1779

By: Molly Gutridge (fl. 1779)

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Monday, 14 May 2018

Lines 67-97 from “Book I [Crossing the Rubicon] from Pharsalia [On the Civil War]” by Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Lucan)

The causes first I purpose to unfold
Of these garboils, whence springs a long discourse;
And what made madding people shake off peace.
The Fates are envious, high seats quickly perish,
Under great burdens falls are ever grievous;
Rome was so great it could not bear itself.
So when this world’s compounded union breaks,
Time ends, and to old Chaos all things turn,
Confused stars shall meet, celestial fire
Fleet on the floods, the earth shoulder the sea,
Affording it no shore, and Phœbe’s wain
Chase Phœbus, and enrag’d affect his place,
And strive to shine by day and full of strife
Dissolve the engines of the broken world.
All great things crush themselves; such end the gods
Allot the height of honour; men so strong
By land and sea, no foreign force could ruin.
O Rome, thyself art cause of all these evils,
Thyself thus shiver’d out to three men’s shares!
Dire league of partners in a kingdom last not.
O faintly-join’d friends, with ambition blind,
Why join you force to share the world betwixt you?
While th’ earth the sea, and air the earth sustains,
While Titan strives against the world’s swift course,
Or Cynthia, night’s queen, waits upon the day,
Shall never faith be found in fellow kings:
Dominion cannot suffer partnership.
This need[s] no foreign proof nor far-fet story:
Rome’s infant walls were steep’d in brother’s blood;
Nor then was land or sea, to breed such hate;
A town with one poor church set them at odds.

From: Marlowe, Christopher and Bullen, A.H. (ed.), The Works of Christopher Marlowe: in Three Volumes, Volume the Third, 1885, John C. Nimmo: London, pp. 255-256.
(http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21262/21262-h/21262-h.htm#FNanchor_587_587)

Date: 1st century (original in Latin); 1600 (translation in English)

By: Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Lucan) (39-65)

Translated by: Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Unburied by M.R., N.Z. Headquarters

Now snowflakes thickly falling in the winter breeze
Have cloaked alike the hard, unbending ilex
And the grey, drooping branches of the olive trees,
Transmuting into silver all their lead;
And, in between the winding lines, in No-Man’s Land,
Have softly covered with a glittering shroud
The unburied dead.

And in the silences of night, when winds are fair,
When shot and shard have ceased their wild surprising,
I hear a sound of music in the upper air,
Rising and falling till it slowly dies–
It is the beating of the wings of migrant birds
Wafting the souls of these unburied heroes
Into the skies.

From: Bean, C.E.W. (ed.), The Anzac Book, 1916, Cassell & Company: London, p. 69.
(http://davidmhart.com/liberty/WarPeace/Books/The_Anzac_Book1916.pdf)

Date: 1916

By: M. R., N.Z. Headquarters (fl. 1916)

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Anzacs by Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace

The children unborn shall acclaim
The standard the Anzacs unfurled,
When they made Australasia’s fame
The wonder and pride of the world.

Some of you got a V.C.,
Some “the Gallipoli trot,”
Some had a grave by the sea,
And all of you got it damned hot,

And I see you go limping through town
In the faded old hospital blue,
And driving abroad—lying down,
And Lord I but I wish I were you I

I envy you beggars I meet,
From the dirty old hats on your head
To the rusty old boots on your feet—
I envy you living or dead.

A knighthood is fine in its way,
A peerage gives splendour and fame,
But I’d rather have tacked any day
That word to the end of my name.

I’d count it the greatest reward
That ever a man could attain
I’d sooner be “Anzac” than “Lord”
I’d rather be “Anzac” than “thane”.

Here’s a bar to the medal you’ll wear,
There’s a word that will glitter and glow,
And an honour a king cannot share
When you’re back in the cities you know,

The children unborn shall acclaim
The standard the Anzacs unfurled,
When they made Australasia’s fame
The wonder and pride of the world.

From: http://iwvpa.net/wallacee/index.php

Date: 1916

By: Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1875-1932)

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Ariburnu Savasi, Turkey, 25 April 2015 by Judith Brooks

‘I do not order you to fight; I order you to die.’
Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Kemal Bey

I
I could tell you
we were farmers and strong enough
yet our skin chafed like a newborn’s might
caught red and hot against new wool
smelling of camphor like home
but soon stinking of sand and dust
as we bent our backs in this wild place
to scrape some shelter from the wrath to come.
Then we waited.
Some of us knelt for the prophet’s words
others dreamt of lemons and tea
while they watched the half moon
cross slowly through the night.

II
A mile away on still water men
smarted from their last adventure
cramped hot and itching into boats,
legs aching in the heavy dark
loaded with a soldier’s kit.
They groaned at sailor’s jokes
or dreamt of action like a postcard
in their pocket waiting for words,
or a game plan folded neatly
by a steady hand to count the hours,
while the sea air cooled their mouths
until they shivered and their lips tasted of salt.

III
They were fast across the beach.
Deaf to the song of bullets
or cries from the shallows
moving from crevice to crevice
upwards, swift as family ferrets
through sharp gullies
they ran onto a high ridge and shook hands
and laughed at the splendour of it all,
with the sea clear and blue below
and the morning golden all around
and all things true at last
so when the enemy called their names
they felt like men at a fair
surrounded by admirers,
lifting their rifles to hit all the ducks in a row.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

IV
Let me tell you this.
Our Sergeant drew his bayonet.
This is the last order he said
gentle as if he were feeding lambs.
Cleaning his hands across his chest
he divided the ammunition
in silence without sigh or lamentation
for we were now ghosts in a haunting tale,
standing thin as pastel shadows
to fall quietly in the brown light
till the sergeant led us out, shoulder to shoulder,
so calm flowed man through man
and bayonets fixed before us
was all the meaning we needed.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

V
They were so surprised at death
it passed by without comment
like a cartoon of itself
urging the captain’s bloody face
to wake from his dream unaided
and command away the scent of wild thyme
and the sharp piping of bees
as they lay in open ground
with snipers pecking at their skin
and the bodies of mates warm beside them.
When the colonel arrived he was breathless,
a hooked fish gaping, but they read his gesture
and bit their tongues, turning elbows up
to roll down through sharp gravel
and prickly gorse back to the beach
where they would hear the wounded
and bridle at the clamour and confusion of defeat.

They would not speak of prisoners shot for timely gain
They would not speak of surrender, no, never again.

VI
Kemal Bey was wordless and sat
on the canvas seat prepared for him
as if he would never rise.
And his officers stood uncertain
as he stared out to the western sea.
Then he spoke: remember this day, he said.
Remember this day.
And they said Amen.

From: Brooks, Judith. “Ode for an anniversary 1914-2014; The last day Wilfred Owen 4 November 1918; Ariburnu Savasi, Turkey, 25 April 1915” in Arena Magazine, No. 138, Oct/Nov 2015, 2015, Fitzroy, Victoria, pp. 41-42.
(https://search-informit-com-au.ezproxy-b.deakin.edu.au/documentSummary;dn=595383461028996;res=IELAPA)

Date: 2015

By: Judith Brooks (1945- )

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

War and Wine by Jean Le Houx

I am as brave as Caesar in this war
Armed to the very teeth with jug and glass;
Better a charge of wine that leaves no scar
Than bullets spilling life that soon must pass.

Give me the bottles for the battle’s clash,
Barrels and casks of rich vermilion wine
For my artillery with which to smash
This thirst that I invest and undermine.

As far as I can see the man’s a clown
Who would not rather get his broken head
By drinking than by fighting for renown;
What use will his renown be when he’s dead?

The head brought down by drinking can recover;
When the wind buffets if you feel some pain,
Then after a short sleep the trouble’s over;
On battlefields all remedy is vain.

Better to hide your nose in a tall glass
Than in a casque-of-war, more safe, I think,
Than following horn and ensign, just to pass
Beneath the yew and ivy to a drink.

Better beside the fire drinking muscatel,
Here inside the tavern and never in default,
Than outside on the ramparts playing sentinel
Or following a captain to the breach, to the assault!

But I dislike and do not seek excess.
Good drinker, not born drunkard, is my due.
Good wine, that makes for laughter and friendliness,
I’ve promised more than I can keep to you.

From: Currey, R.N., Collected Poems, 2001, David Philip & James Currey: Oxford & Cape Town, pp. 222-223.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=vkivkL-OohwC)

Date: 1610 (original in French); 1938 (translation in English)

By: Jean Le Houx (1551-1616)

Translated by: Ralph Nixon Currey (1907-2001)

Monday, 4 December 2017

War Commemoration 1925 by Walter Sherard Vines

Today we must recall abysmal follies
That have bequeathed out friends to flies and sour clay
That bent the air with groaning flights of steel
Or sweetened it with a shell’s livid breath,
Turned wholesome plains and gentle lakes to filth,
Tore up our continent in unscavenged belts
Through cross-edged meadows and afforested heights
Where the guns crouched in pits and shouted
Lunatic judgement in dull obedience.

We must remember the weary stand-to
Of millions, pale in corpse-infected mist,
The mad, and those turned monsters, or castrated
In one red, hideous moment; and how, unseen
Dark Mania sat in offices and designed
New schemes for shambles, learning year by year,
Painfully, secretly, to degrade the world.

From: https://allpoetry.com/Sherard-Vines

Date: 1926

By: Walter Sherard Vines (1890-1974)

Monday, 13 November 2017

There Will Come Soft Rains by Sara (Sarah Trevor) Teasdale Filsinger

(War Time)

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

From: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/there-will-come-soft-rains

Date: 1918

By: Sara (Sarah Trevor) Teasdale Filsinger (1884-1933)

Sunday, 12 November 2017

How Shall We Rise to Greet the Dawn? by Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell

How shall we rise to greet the dawn?
Not timidly,
With a hand above our eyes,
But greet the strong light
Joyfully;
Nor will we mistake the dawn
For the mid-day.

We must create and fashion a new God–
A God of power, of beauty, and of strength–
Created painfully, cruelly,
Labouring from the revulsion of men’s minds.

It is not that the money-changers
Ply their trade
Within the sacred places;
But that the old God
Has made the Stock Exchange his Temple.
We must drive him from it.
Why should we tinker with clay feet?
We will fashion
A perfect unity
Of precious metals.

Let us tear the paper moon
From its empty dome.
Let us see the world with young eyes.
Let us harness the waves to make power,
And in so doing,
Seek not to spoil their rolling freedom,
But to endow
The soiled and straining cities
With the same splendour of strength.

We will not be afraid,
Tho’ the golden geese cackle in the Capitol,
In fear
That their eggs may be placed
In an incubator.
Continually they cackle thus–
These venerable birds–
Crying, “Those whom the Gods love
Die young,”
Or something of that sort.
But we will see that they live
And prosper.

Let us prune the tree of language
Of its dead fruit.
Let us melt up the cliches
Into molten metal;
Fashion weapons that will scald and flay;
Let us curb this eternal humour
And become witty.

Let us dig up the dragon’s teeth
From this fertile soil;
Swiftly,
Before they fructify;
Let us give them as medicine
To the writhing monster itself.

We must create and fashion a new God–
A God of power, of beauty, and of strength;
Created painfully, cruelly,
Labouring from the revulsion of men’s minds.
Cast down the idols of a thousand years,
Crush them to dust
Beneath the dancing rhythm of our feet.
Oh! let us dance upon the weak and cruel:
We must create and fashion a new God.

November, 1918.

From: Sitwell, Osbert, Argonaut and Juggernaut, 1919, Chatto & Windus: London, pp. vii-ix.
(https://archive.org/details/argonautjuggerna00sitwuoft)

Date: 1918

By: Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell (1892-1969)

Saturday, 11 November 2017

The Face by Frederic Manning

Out of the smoke of men’s wrath,
The red mist of anger,
Suddenly,
As a wraith of sleep,
A boy’s face, white and tense,
Convulsed with terror and hate,
The lips trembling….

Then a red smear, falling….
I thrust aside the cloud, as it were tangible,
Blinded with a mist of blood.
The face cometh again
As a wraith of sleep:
A boy’s face delicate and blonde,
The very mask of God,
Broken.

From: http://warpoets.org.uk/worldwar1/blog/poem/the-face/

Date: 1917

By: Frederic Manning (1882-1935)