Posts tagged ‘1915’

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Dilemma by John Collings Squire

God heard the embattled nations sing and shout
“Gott strafe England!” and “God save the King!”
God this, God that, and God the other thing—
“Good God!” said God, “I’ve got my work cut out.”

From: Squire, J. C., The Survival of the Fittest and Other Poems, 1916, George Allen & Unwin: London, p. 57.
(https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Survival_of_the_Fittest/The_Dilemma)

Date: 1915

By: John Collings Squire (1884-1958)

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Crosses in Gallipoli by Ella May McFadyen

Gallipoli, how many are the graves
That in your broken furrows we have sown,
The broken rifle fashioned to a cross
For witness that the Lord may know His own!

What costly spending saw the world in this;
Youth, courage, high adventure, loyalty,
Boy lives of poets, leaders, teachers, saints,
Expended in an hour, Gallipoli!

Aye, so we made you ours in pride and grief,
Renewed our right with every life we paid:
Gay heroes in the battle of the faith,
The boy battalions of a late crusade.

Though duty’s path proved steep beneath their feet,
The way wound steeply once from Nazareth:
And meet our loveliest are for sacrifice,
While stands the Cross for victory – and death!

From: McFadyen, Ella, “Crosses in Gallipoli” from The Sydney Mail – Dec. 8, 1915, p. 15.
(https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=fu1UAAAAIBAJ&sjid=J5IDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5112,4838048&hl=en)

Date: 1915

By: Ella May McFadyen (1887-1976)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Gallipoli by Leslie Holdsworth Allen

I.
Winter is here, and in the setting sun
York’s giant bluff is kindled with the ray
That smites his gnarled crags of red and dun,
And the spired obelisk that points the way
Where heroes looked, the first of English blood,
To break the spell of silence with a cry,
Startling the ancient sleep in prophecy
Of you, my people of the Lion-brood.

II.
Does his old vision watch that alien hill,
Embrowned and bleak, where strain upon the height,
Amid sharp silences that burn and chill,
Those heroes’ sons, set in a sterner fight
Than that primeval war with Solitude?
Lo now, the sullen cliff outjets in smoke
And life is groaning death, bloodied and broke!
So fell ye, children of the Lion-Brood!

III.
I weep the dead, they are no more, no more!
O with what pain and rapture came to me
Full birth of love for dazzling-sanded shore,
For heaven of sapphire and for scented tree!
Keen-eyed and all desire, I felt my mood
Still fruitless, waiting gust of quickening breath,
And lo, on darkened wing the wind of Death
Summoned austere the soul to nationhood!

IV.
Where cornfields smile in golden-fruited peace
There stalk the spirits of heroes firmly thewed
As he that sailed their path to win the Fleece
For gods that still enchant our solitude.
I weep the dead, they are no more, no more!
Their sons that gather in the teeming grain
Walk sadlier that the men of hill and plain
Themselves are harvest to the wrath of war.

V.
I weep the dead, they are no more, no more!
When dusk descends on city and on plain
Dim lights will shine from window and from door,
And some will guard the vigil of dull pain.
Yet, in the city or in solitude,
There is a burden in the starry air,
An oversong that cries, “The life is fair
That made its triumph nobler with its blood!”

VI.
If English oaks should fret with shade their tomb,
Let them have burial here, for one would say,
“I shall sleep soft if some once-haunted room
Keep token of me when I take my way.”
And one again— “The boon of quietude
Is sweet if that old corner of the stream
Where last I saw the creepered window gleam
Keep memory of my days of lustihood.”

VII.
Some blossoming orchard-plot, some fenced field,
Some placid strip of furrow-stained earth,
Or some grey coil of cottage-smoke, shall yield
Tribute to those who brought their land to birth,
And this, in city or in lonely wood,
Shall be the guerdon of the death they died,
The cry of Folk made one with pangs of pride,
“They fell, not faithless to the Lion-Brood!”

From: Allen, L. H., “Gallipoli” in The Kookaburra. The Magazine of The Sydney Teachers’ College. War Edition, November,1915, p. 6.
(www.sydney.edu.au/arms/…/kookaburra%201915%20November%20War%20Edition.pdf)

Date: 1915

By: Leslie Holdsworth Allen (1879-1964)

Sunday, 13 November 2016

The Falling Leaves by Margaret Isabel Postgate Cole

Today, as I rode by,
I saw the brown leaves dropping from their tree
In a still afternoon,
When no wind whirled them whistling to the sky,
But thickly, silently,
They fell, like snowflakes wiping out the noon;
And wandered slowly thence
For thinking of a gallant multitude
Which now all withering lay,
Slain by no wind of age or pestilence,
But in their beauty strewed
Like snowflakes falling on the Flemish clay.

From: http://war-time-poems.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/margaret-postgate-cole-falling-leaves.html

Date: 1915

By: Margaret Isabel Postgate Cole (1893-1980)

Thursday, 10 November 2016

“The Exiles” by George Kelly

Not the remembered scent of English air
In thawing fields, nor English melodies,
Nor song of English birds in English skies
Can make this England. All our house is bare;
Our lives are stopped; our hearts are other-where,
As homesick travellers whose impatient eyes
See only aliens: for all England lies
Where you have set your honour and her care.
The earshot of your bugle-calls at morn
Tells England’s measure now; her history
Is in your undistinguished graves compressed
Your deeds are all her life, your sleep her rest
You are her only citizens, and we
Are exiles in the place where we were born.

From: https://greatwar.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/poetry/macdonald/macdonald30/

Date: 1915

By: George Kelly (fl. 1915)

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Into Battle by Julian Henry Francis Grenfell

The naked earth is warm with spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,
And quivers in the loving breeze;
And life is colour and warmth and light,
And a striving evermore for these;
And he is dead who will not fight;
And who dies fighting has increase.

The fighting man shall from the sun
Take warmth, and life from the glowing earth;
Speed with the light-foot winds to run,
And with the trees a newer birth;
And when his fighting shall be done,
Great rest, and fullness after dearth.

All the bright company of Heaven
Hold him in their high comradeship,
The Dog-Star, and the Sisters Seven,
Orion’s Belt and sworded hip.

The woodland trees that stand together,
They stand to him each one a friend;
They gently speak in the windy weather,
They guide to valley and ridge’s end.

The kestrel hovering by day,
And the little owls that call by night,
Bid him swift and keen as they,
As keen of ear, as swift of sight.

The blackbird sings to him ‘Brother, brother,
If this be the last song you shall sing,
Sing well, for you will not sing another;
Brother, sing!’

In dreary, doubtful, waiting hours,
Before the brazen frenzy starts,
The horses show him nobler powers;
O patient eyes, courageous hearts!

And when the burning moment breaks,
And all things else are out of mind,
And only joy of battle takes
Him by the throat, and makes him blind,

Through joy and blindness he shall know,
Not caring much to know, that still
Nor lead nor steel shall reach him, so
That is be not the Destined Will.

The thundering line of battle stands,
And in the air death moans and sings;
But Day shall clasp him with strong hands,
And Night shall fold him in soft wings.

From: http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/into-battle/

Date: 1915

By: Julian Henry Francis Grenfell (1888-1915)

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Captivity by John Still

I saw a flight of herons cross the sky,
Borne by slow-beating multitudinous wings;
Spread in a twinkling crescent, flying high,
They travelled eastward, seeking many things.

I watched a thousand swallows in the air
Weaving wide patterns with invisible thread,
Speeding and fleeting swiftly here and there,
And seeking in the heavens their daily bread.

I saw a hanging hawk above a spire,
Outspread and motionless while wind rushed past;
Suddenly stoop deep deep down to inquire
Into some stir that promised to end his fast.

Now that my passage-way is barred with steel
All free and wingéd things seem doubly rare,
Objects of envy that I will not feel,
Emblems of liberty I cannot share.

With bayonets fixed the sentries pace below,
With bayonet fixed one stands beside my door.
The days drag on, the hours seem strangely slow.
The sentry’s footsteps clump along the floor.

One day I saw a sentry kiss his blade,
Longing to find it some more worthy sheath;
Or hoping haply I might be afraid,
I who so lately had been friends with death!

Yet freedom is and ever will remain
Moral, not physical, and those are free
Who can rise morally above their pain,
Their minds uncrippled by captivity.

More free by far than any bird that flies,
My mind is free to climb among the stars,
My soul is free to wander o’er the skies,
Only my body lies behind the bars.

Constantinople, 19. Viii. 1915.

From: Still, John, Poems in Captivity, 1919, John Lane, The Bodley Head: London, pp. 3-4.
(https://archive.org/stream/poemsincaptivity00stiliala#page/n19/mode/2up)

Date: 1915

By: John Still (18??-19??)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Strictly Germ-Proof by Arthur Guiterman

The Antiseptic Baby and the Prophylactic Pup
Were playing in the garden when the Bunny gamboled up;
They looked upon the Creature with a loathing undisguised; —
It wasn’t Disinfected and it wasn’t Sterilized.

They said it was a Microbe and a Hotbed of Disease;
They steamed it in a vapor of a thousand-odd degrees;
They froze it in a freezer that was cold as Banished Hope
And washed it in permanganate with carbolated soap.

In sulphurated hydrogen they steeped its wiggly ears;
They trimmed its frisky whiskers with a pair of hard-boiled shears;
They donned their rubber mittens and they took it by the hand
And ‘lected it a member of the Fumigated Band.

There’s not a Micrococcus in the garden where they play;
They bathe in pure iodoform a dozen times a day;
And each imbibes his rations from a Hygienic Cup —
The Bunny and the Baby and the Prophylactic Pup.

From: http://www.bachlund.org/Strictly_Germ_Proof.htm

Date: 1915

By: Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Mother by Janet Gertrude (Nettie) Higgins Palmer

In the sorrow and the terror of the nations,
In a world shaken through by lamentations.
Shall I dare know happiness
That I stitch a baby’s dress?

So: for I shall be a mother with the mothers,
I shall know the mother’s anguish like the others,
Present joy must surely start
For the life beneath my heart.

Gods and men, ye know a woman’s glad unreason,
How she cannot bend and weep but in her season.
Let my hours with rapture glow
As the seams and stitches grow.

And I cannot hear the word of fire and slaughter;
Do men die? Then live my child, my son, my daughter!
Into realms of pain I bring
You for joy’s own offering.

From: Smith, Vivian (ed.), Nettie Palmer: Her Private Journal Fourteen Years, Poems, Reviews and Literary Essays, 1988, University of Queensland Press: St Lucia, pp. 267-268.
(http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/eserv/UQ:207441/PR8245_A42Z5_1988.pdf)

Date: 1915

By: Janet Gertrude (Nettie) Higgins Palmer (1885-1964)

Monday, 16 June 2014

Youth and Age by Edward Vivian (Vance) Palmer

Youth that rides the wildest horse,
Youth that throws the deadliest steer,
Spending strength without remorse,
Grappling with the ghosts of fear,
Knows it only holds to-day
All it freely flings away.

Youth that rides a race with Death
When the frightened cattle break,
Living in the moment’s breath,
Risking all for honour’s sake,
Lightly knows it holds in fee
Life and immortality.

Age that rides the spavined grey,
Age that seeks the safest track,
Scenting perils by the way,
Dreaming of the journey back,
Leaves behind it all the truth
Known to the wild heart of youth.

From: http://allpoetry.com/poem/8522009-Youth-and-Age-by-Vance-Palmer

Date: 1915

By: Edward Vivian (Vance) Palmer (1885-1959)