Posts tagged ‘1916’

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Anzac Cove by Leon Maxwell Gellert

There’s a lonely stretch of hillocks;
There’s a beach asleep and drear,
There’s a battered broken fort beside the sea.
There are sunken trampled graves;
And a little rotting pier;
And winding paths that wind unceasingly.
There’s a torn and silent valley;
There’s a tiny rivulet
With some blood upon the stones beside its mouth.
There are lines of buried bones;
There’s an unpaid waiting debt;
There’s a sound of gentle sobbing in the South.

January, 1916.


Date: 1916

By: Leon Maxwell Gellert (1892-1977)

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Lines from the Tomb of an Unknown Woman by Unknown

Taken from a tomb on the Fu-Kiu mountain district of So-Chau in the Province of Kiangsu. The date of the poem is many centuries old.

Mother of Pity, hear my prayer
That in the endless round of birth
No more may break my heart on earth,
Nor by the windless waters of the Blest
Weary of rest;
That drifting, drifting, I abide not anywhere.
Yet if by Karma’s law I must
Resume this mantle of the dust
Grant me, I pray,
One dewdrop from thy willow spray,
And in the double lotus keep
My hidden heart asleep.

From: Cranmer-Byng, L., A Feast of Lanterns: Renderered with an Introduction by L. Cranmer-Byng, 1916, John Murray: London, p. 39.

Date: ? (original); 1916 (translation)

By: Unknown

Translated by: Launcelot Cranmer-Byng (1872-1945)

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Consolation by Beatrice Cregan

O in a dream last night, in a dream you came,
Those arms about me, and that lovely look,
Radiant through tears! and as of old for me
Passionate love and understanding there,
With something higher, loyal and large and free.

There was sorrow in my dream, and, when you came,
The unutterable longing to be at rest,
To be at rest with you! Then the sweet pang,
When as of old remorseful love leaped up
To shield and save you, darling, from my pain.

O, inspiration of unselfish love!
Come to me still. I was only good for you.
I am nothing alone. But I can live while life
Still holds the consolation of a dream.


Date: 1916

By: Beatrice Cregan (fl. 1893-1939)

Monday, 10 November 2014

War Girls by Jessie Pope

There’s the girl who clips your ticket for the train,
And the girl who speeds the lift from floor to floor,
There’s the girl who does a milk-round in the rain,
And the girl who calls for orders at your door.
Strong, sensible, and fit,
They’re out to show their grit,
And tackle jobs with energy and knack.
No longer caged and penned up,
They’re going to keep their end up
Till the khaki boys come marching back.

There’s the motor girl who drives a heavy van,
There’s the butcher girl who brings your joint of meat,
There’s the girl who cries ‘All fares, please!’ like a man,
And the girl who whistles taxis up the street.
Beneath each uniform
Beats a heart that’s soft and warm,
Though of canny mother-wit they show no lack;
But a solemn statement this is,
They’ve no time for love and kisses
Till the khaki soldier boys come marching home.


Date: 1916

By: Jessie Pope (1868-1941)

Monday, 1 September 2014

Where the Luck Fell by Osip Yuriy Fedkovich

You, my brother, stayed at home,
Threshing out the beans –
I hied me to Germany,
Seeking where my Luck might be,
League on league to roam.

Under Bukowina’s sky,
Even there I went,
Passed the flinty Tyrol’s bar,
Wandered till I reached a star –
Wandering still am I!

Ah, my brother, you did well –
Threshing all the while.
Luck that would not come to me,
Luck I went so far to see,
In your beans it fell!

From: Livesay, Florence Randal (translator), Songs of Ukraina, with Ruthenian Poems, 1916, J. M. Dent and Sons: London, pp. 160-161.

Date: 1862 (Ukrainian); 1916 (English)

By: Osip Yuriy Fedkovich (1834-1888)

Translated by: Florence Randal Livesay (1874-1953)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Isolation by Henry Green Barnett

Thine eyes are dark and luminous as are
Deep winter skies hung with a crescent censer;
They glow like fireless planets seen afar,
Only more coldly blue, graver, intenser.

Thine eyes as strange and straying are
As frozen shells of drifted stellar plasm;
As well might I aspire to reach that star
As seek to arch this vaster human chasm.

From: Barnett, Henry G., The Roof of the World and Other Poems, 1916, Sherman, French & Company: Boston,p. 31.

Date: 1916

By: Henry Green Barnett (1890-1987)

Monday, 17 March 2014

An Irish Enchantment by Eleanor Rogers Cox

There’s a ripple and shower of song-drops shaken,
A brown wing whirrs through the whitethorn spray —
O soul of mine from your dream awaken!
Sweet, green Erin is far away.

Here is no highway of singing thrushes —
Onward with thunderous roar and din,
The great life-stream of the city rushes,
Avid to draw me in.

Yet over it all, the wild, faint laughter
Of grasses astir beneath the moon,
Cries, “Come!” “Come!” “Come!” and I follow after
The whispering, elfin tune.

And my feet are winged with a blind desire
For brackened hills where the starbeams rest,
And dead as the ash of a last year’s fire
Is the spirit within my breast.

Is it not time to cease your dreaming,
Lost and wandering heart o’ me say?
O fairy eyes through the thickets gleaming,
You’ve stolen my soul away!

From: Cox, Eleanor Rogers, Singing Fires of Erin, 1916, John Lane Company: New York, pp. 101-102.

Date: 1916

By: Eleanor Rogers Cox (?-1931)

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Haggis of Private McPhee by Robert William Service

“Hae ye heard whit ma auld mither’s postit tae me?
It fair maks me hamesick,” says Private McPhee.
“And whit did she send ye?” says Private McPhun,
As he cockit his rifle and bleezed at a Hun.
“A haggis! A Haggis!” says Private McPhee;
“The brawest big haggis I ever did see.
And think! it’s the morn when fond memory turns
Tae haggis and whuskey–the Birthday o’ Burns.
We maun find a dram; then we’ll ca’ in the rest
O’ the lads, and we’ll hae a Burns’ Nicht wi’ the best.”
“Be ready at sundoon,” snapped Sergeant McCole;
“I want you two men for the List’nin’ Patrol.”
Then Private McPhee looked at Private McPhun:
“I’m thinkin’, ma lad, we’re confoundedly done.”
Then Private McPhun looked at Private McPhee:
“I’m thinkin’ auld chap, it’s a’ aff wi’ oor spree.”
But up spoke their crony, wee Wullie McNair:
“Jist lea’ yer braw haggis for me tae prepare;
And as for the dram, if I search the camp roun’,
We maun hae a drappie tae jist haud it doon.
Sae rin, lads, and think, though the nicht it be black,
O’ the haggis that’s waitin’ ye when ye get back.”

My! but it wis waesome on Naebuddy’s Land,
And the deid they were rottin’ on every hand.
And the rockets like corpse candles hauntit the sky,
And the winds o’ destruction went shudderin’ by.
There wis skelpin’ o’ bullets and skirlin’ o’ shells,
And breengin’ o’ bombs and a thoosand death-knells;
But cooryin’ doon in a Jack Johnson hole
Little fashed the twa men o’ the List’nin’ Patrol.
For sweeter than honey and bricht as a gem
Wis the thocht o’ the haggis that waitit for them.

Yet alas! in oor moments o’ sunniest cheer
Calamity’s aften maist cruelly near.
And while the twa talked o’ their puddin’ divine
The Boches below them were howkin’ a mine.
And while the twa cracked o’ the feast they would hae,
The fuse it wis burnin’ and burnin’ away.
Then sudden a roar like the thunner o’ doom,
A hell-leap o’ flame . . . then the wheesht o’ the tomb.

“Haw, Jock! Are ye hurtit?” says Private McPhun.
“Ay, Geordie, they’ve got me; I’m fearin’ I’m done.
It’s ma leg; I’m jist thinkin’ it’s aff at the knee;
Ye’d best gang and leave me,” says Private McPhee.
“Oh leave ye I wunna,” says Private McPhun;
“And leave ye I canna, for though I micht run,
It’s no faur I wud gang, it’s no muckle I’d see:
I’m blindit, and that’s whit’s the maitter wi’ me.”
Then Private McPhee sadly shakit his heid:
“If we bide here for lang, we’ll be bidin’ for deid.
And yet, Geordie lad, I could gang weel content
If I’d tasted that haggis ma auld mither sent.”
“That’s droll,” says McPhun; “ye’ve jist speakit ma mind.
Oh, I ken it’s a terrible thing tae be blind;
And yet it’s no that what embitters ma lot–
It’s missin’ that braw muckle haggis ye’ve got.”
For a while they were silent; then up once again
Spoke Private McPhee, though he whussilt wi’ pain:
“And why should we miss it? Between you and me
We’ve legs for tae run, and we’ve eyes for tae see.
You lend me your shanks and I’ll lend you ma sicht,
And we’ll baith hae a kyte-fu’ o’ haggis the nicht.”

Oh, the sky it wis dourlike and dreepin’ a wee,
When Private McPhun gruppit Private McPhee.
Oh, the glaur it wis fylin’ and crieshin’ the grun’,
When Private McPhee guidit Private McPhun.
“Keep clear o’ them corpses–they’re maybe no deid!
Haud on! There’s a big muckle crater aheid.
Look oot! There’s a sap; we’ll be haein’ a coup.
A staur-shell! For Godsake! Doun, lad, on yer daup.
Bear aff tae yer richt. . . . Aw yer jist daein’ fine:
Before the nicht’s feenished on haggis we’ll dine.”

There wis death and destruction on every hand;
There wis havoc and horror on Naebuddy’s Land.
And the shells bickered doun wi’ a crump and a glare,
And the hameless wee bullets were dingin’ the air.
Yet on they went staggerin’, cooryin’ doun
When the stutter and cluck o’ a Maxim crept roun’.
And the legs o’ McPhun they were sturdy and stoot,
And McPhee on his back kept a bonnie look-oot.
“On, on, ma brave lad! We’re no faur frae the goal;
I can hear the braw sweerin’ o’ Sergeant McCole.”

But strength has its leemit, and Private McPhun,
Wi’ a sab and a curse fell his length on the grun’.
Then Private McPhee shoutit doon in his ear:
“Jist think o’ the haggis! I smell it from here.
It’s gushin’ wi’ juice, it’s embaumin’ the air;
It’s steamin’ for us, and we’re–jist–aboot–there.”
Then Private McPhun answers: “Dommit, auld chap!
For the sake o’ that haggis I’ll gang till I drap.”
And he gets on his feet wi’ a heave and a strain,
And onward he staggers in passion and pain.
And the flare and the glare and the fury increase,
Till you’d think they’d jist taken a’ hell on a lease.
And on they go reelin’ in peetifu’ plight,
And someone is shoutin’ away on their right;
And someone is runnin’, and noo they can hear
A sound like a prayer and a sound like a cheer;
And swift through the crash and the flash and the din,
The lads o’ the Hielands are bringin’ them in.

“They’re baith sairly woundit, but is it no droll
Hoo they rave aboot haggis?” says Sergeant McCole.
When hirplin alang comes wee Wullie McNair,
And they a’ wonnert why he wis greetin’ sae sair.
And he says: “I’d jist liftit it oot o’ the pot,
And there it lay steamin’ and savoury hot,
When sudden I dooked at the fleech o’ a shell,
And it–dropped on the haggis and dinged it tae hell.”

And oh, but the lads were fair taken aback;
Then sudden the order wis passed tae attack,
And up from the trenches like lions they leapt,
And on through the nicht like a torrent they swept.
On, on, wi’ their bayonets thirstin’ before!
On, on tae the foe wi’ a rush and a roar!
And wild to the welkin their battle-cry rang,
And doon on the Boches like tigers they sprang:
And there wisna a man but had death in his ee,
For he thocht o’ the haggis o’ Private McPhee.


Date: 1916

By: Robert William Service (1874-1958)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Sounds of Ellul by Robert Ziegel

A black and rainy evening
With vague feelings of fear
Alive with garish shrieking
Of shots both far and near.
What bring you, laughing soldier
To my heart’s dark command
When I, pensive and sober,
In my own grave do stand

What strange column unmoving
Appears with such dark dread?
— Oh, friends you are still living! —
Death, is your realm not fed?

At home with pious greeting
Loved ones the graves do search
Where are the dead now meeting?
The wind blows o’er the church

Death touches grave and heather
And sings: “This have I done.”
Perhaps from my eyes forever
Night will now hide the sun.


Date: 1916

By: Robert Ziegel (1895-1916)

Translated by: Peter Appelbaum (?- )

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Hardness of Heart by Edward Shillito

In the first watch no death but made us mourn;
Now tearless eyes run down the daily roll,
Whose names are written in the book of death;
For sealed are now the springs of tears, as when
The tropic sun makes dry the torrent’s course
After the rains. They are too many now
For mortal eyes to weep, and none can see
But God alone the Thing itself and live.
We look to seaward, and behold a cry!
To skyward, and they fall as stricken birds
On autumn fields; and earth cries out its toll,
From the Great River to the world’s end—toll
Of dead, and maimed and lost; we dare not stay;
Tears are not endless and we have no more.


Date: 1916

Date: Edward Shillito (1872-1948)