“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”
― Herbert Hoover
Poetry from soldiers written in the first world war. This is the 100th anniversary of the wars end.
Leaving for the Front
Before I die I must just find this rhyme.
Be quiet, my friends, and do not waste my time.
We’re marching off in company with death.
I only wish my girl would hold her breath.
There’s nothing wrong with me, I’m glad to leave
Now mothers crying too, there’s no reprieve
And now look how the suns begun to set.
A nice mass grave is all that I shall get’
Once more the good old sunsets glowing red.
In thirteen days I’ll probably be dead.
Before the attack, he didn’t have a clue
Though often he’d imagined it with dread-that tragic time
When he would join the fray, led there by fate and driven by
The innate enmity of man.
He doubted he’d turn out to be a hero.
He’s always been a softish sort of chap, kind natured too
But when the ordeal came it was sublime! He saw, exulting
That his hands as if in witness to his courage,
Streamed with blood.
At first pure instinct made him swell with pride, but soon
A shadow fell, eclipsing self acclaim, and all at once
A gush of shame welled up within his heart and spread
As noxious as poison through his veins. A sobbing sound
Then, like a river running red with blood , remorse
Consumed his soul
A whole night long
To one of our men
With his clenched
Grinning at the full moon
With the congestion
Of his hands
Into my silence
Letters filled with love
I have never been
Coupled to life