Posts tagged ‘1916’

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Neutral by John Hogben

Spoken in the name of the Allies.

Her spawn of spies — forerunners — filled the world;
Right from its ancient pedestal was hurled;
Rapine and lust, twin-sisters, followed fast
Upon her cloven footprints as she passed
From fury unto fury, demon-driven,
Vaunting the while her kinship still with Heaven;
She broke on every hand the laws of war;
Fair chivalry forsook her evermore:
She turned and smote each gallant little land
That to the death took up its valorous stand
In front of her amazing march of Hell,
Till, loyal to the last, each, fighting, fell.
To stay her course, — was it not Freedom’s task?
“How shall I help?” surely the thing to ask.
We fought the whole world’s battle, yet there stood
Her future victims in a doubting mood, —
Faint calling on the god of war to cease,
While smoking their war-gilded pipes of peace:
Some were too proud to fight; too timid some;
Much cried for protest — but their lips were dumb:
As if, forsooth, morality were dead,
And devil-worship reigned alone instead;
As if — and this the years to come will show —
To save their own our braver blood must flow.
On Europe’s chart, as it is known to-day,
Satanic fingers hellish pigments lay:
‘Tis monstrous, surely, crimson crimes’ imprint
Should neighbour be to any neutral tint!

From: Hogben, John, The Highway of Hades: War Verses: With Some Prose, 1919, Oliver and Boyd: Edinburgh, p. 52.
(https://archive.org/details/highwayofhadeswa00hogb/)

Date: 1916

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

Sunday, 20 May 2018

O Night, Be Long by Nahapet Kuchak

O night, be long—long as an endless year!
Descend, thick darkness, black and full of fear!
To-night my heart’s desire has been fulfilled–
My love is here at least—a guest concealed!

Dawn, stand behind seven mountains—out of sight,
Lest thou my loved one banish with thy light;
I would for ever thus in darkness rest
So I might ever clasp him to my breast.

From: Boyajian, Zabelle C., Armenian Poetry & Legends, 2009, Abela Publishing: London, p. 14.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=XxWVF5804r0C)

Date: 16th century (original in Armenian); 1916 (translation in English)

By: Nahapet Kuchak (15??-1592)

Translated by: Zabelle C. Boyajian (1873-1957)

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)

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Home Service by Geoffrey Cust Faber

“At least it wasn’t your fault” I hear them console
When they come back, the few that will come back.
I feel those handshakes now. “Well, on the whole
You didn’t miss much. I wish I had your knack
Of stopping out. You still can call your soul
Your own, at any rate. What a priceless slack
You’ve had, old chap. It must have been top-hole.
How’s poetry? I bet you’ve written a stack.”

What shall I say? That it’s been damnable?
That all the time my soul was never my own?
That we’ve slaved hard at endless make-believe?
It isn’t only actual war that’s hell,
I’ll say. It’s spending youth and hope alone
Among pretences that have ceased to deceive.

From: Hibberd, Dominic and Onions, John (eds.), The Winter of the World: Poems of the Great War, 2013, Hachette: London, p. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=QDSeBAAAQBAJ)

Date: 1916

By: Geoffrey Cust Faber (1889-1961)

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Silence by Reginald James Godfrey

This is indeed a false, false night;
There’s not a soldier sleeps,
But like a ghost stands to his post,
While Death through the long sap creeps.
There’s an eerie filmy spell o’er all —
A murmur from the sea;
And not a sound on the hills around —
Say, what will the silence be?

From: https://web.archive.org/web/20140604193401/http:/www.jill-hamilton.com/anzacday-poems.html

Date: 1916

By: Reginald James Godfrey (1892-1979)

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Song of Living by Amelia Josephine Burr

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky.
I have run and leaped with the rain, I have taken the wind to my breast.
My cheek like a drowsy child to the face of the earth I have pressed.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I have kissed young Love on the lips, I have heard his song to the end.
I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal hand of a friend.
I have known the peace of heaven, the comfort of work done well.
I have longed for death in the darkness and risen alive out of hell.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I give a share of my soul to the world where my course is run.
I know that another shall finish the task I must leave undone.
I know that no flower, no flint was in vain on the path I trod.
As one looks on a face through a window, through life I have looked on God.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

From: Burr, Amelia Josephine, Life and Living. A Book of Verse, 1916, George H. Doran Company: New York, pp. 15-16.
(https://archive.org/details/livinglifeverse00burrrich)

Date: 1916

By: Amelia Josephine Burr (1878-1968)

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A Life by Edith Irene Södergran

That the stars are adamant
everyone understands—
but I won’t give up seeking joy on each blue wave
or peace below every gray stone.
If happiness never comes, what is a life?
A lily withers in the sand
and if its nature has failed? The tide
washes the beach at night.
What is the fly looking for on the spider’s web?
What does a dayfly make of its hours?
(Two wings creased over a hollow body.)

Black will never turn to white—
yet the perfume of our struggle lingers
as each morning fresh flowers
spring up from hell.

The day will come
when the earth is emptied, the skies collapse
and all goes still—
when nothing remains but the dayfly
folded in a leaf.
But no one knows it.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/55402

Date: c1916 (original in Swedish); 2012 (translation in English)

By: Edith Irene Södergran (1892-1923)

Translated by: Averill Ann Curdy (19??- )

Friday, 11 November 2016

To Any Diplomatist by William Norman Ewer

Heeding nought else, your subtle game you played,
Took tricks and lost them, reckoned up the score,
Balanced defeats with triumphs, less with more,
And plotted how the next point might be made:
How some sly move with countermoves to meet,
How by some crafty stratagem to gain
This empty point of honour, how obtain
That barren symbol of a foe’s defeat.

Engrossed, you never cared to realise
The folly of the things for which you fought,
The hideous peril which your striving brought –
A witless struggle for a worthless prize!
God! Were you fiends or fools, who, in your game,
Heedless, have set the circling world aflame?

From: Noakes, Vivian (ed.), Voices of Silence: The Alternative Book of First World War Poetry, 2006, Sutton Publishing: Stroud, Gloucestershire, p. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=f8A7AwAAQBAJ)

Date: 1916

By: William Norman Ewer (1885-1977)

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Falcon by Der von Kürenberg

I raised a noble falcon
For more than a year;
And when I had tamed him
And decked his feathers, tying
Them with a golden band,
He rose so swiftly, flying
Far to another land.

Since then I’ve seen my falcon
Gaily soaring;
And from his feet were waving
Fair silken ribbons,
And on his wings each feather
Was ruddy gold to see;
Ah, God bring those together
Who lovers fain would be!

From: http://www.bartleby.com/177/9.html

Date: c1175 (original); 1916 (translation)

By: Der von Kürenberg (fl. 1150-1170)

Translated by: Margarete Münsterberg (1889-19??)