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QSAMIKE

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORATE MILITARY BASED POEM

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Tommy

By R. Kipling

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,

The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."

The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,

I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";

But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,

The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,

O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,

They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;

They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,

But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";

But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,

The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,

O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep

Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;

An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit

Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"

But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,

The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,

O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,

But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;

An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,

Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",

But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,

There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,

O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:

We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.

Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face

The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"

But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;

An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;

An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

Edited by QSAMIKE

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Hi - Mike. A different subject - makes a change.

My favourite military poem has to be :

Alfred Lord Tennyson - THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE

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Alfred Lord Tennyson - THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE

Something upon which we can agree, Mervyn. Tennyson's war-related poetry is simply among the best.

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them

space.gif Volley'd and thunder'd;

Storm'd at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well,

Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of Hell

space.gif Rode the six hundred.

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It's hard to beat the WW I poets for a dark view of the horror.

Wilfred Owen

“Dulce Et Decorum Est”

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.

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Ohhh.... I have been collecting Military poems for the better part of 25 years. I'll try not to innundate you. lol

That being said, my all time favorite military poem is this one from none other than General Patton.

THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY

General George S. Patton, Jr.

Through the travail of the ages,

Midst the pomp and toil of war,

Have I fought and strove and perished

Countless times upon this star.

In the form of many people

In all panoplies of time

Have I seen the luring vision

Of the Victory Maid, sublime.

I have battled for fresh mammoth,

I have warred for pastures new,

I have listened to the whispers

When the race trek instinct grew.

I have known the call to battle

In each changeless changing shape

From the high souled voice of conscience

To the beastly lust for rape.

I have sinned and I have suffered,

Played the hero and the knave;

Fought for belly, shame, or country,

And for each have found a grave.

I cannot name my battles

For the visions are not clear,

Yet, I see the twisted faces

And I feel the rending spear.

Perhaps I stabbed our Savior

In His sacred helpless side.

Yet, I've called His name in blessing

When after times I died.

In the dimness of the shadows

Where we hairy heathens warred,

I can taste in thought the lifeblood;

We used teeth before the sword.

While in later clearer vision

I can sense the coppery sweat,

Feel the pikes grow wet and slippery

When our Phalanx, Cyrus met.

Hear the rattle of the harness

Where the Persian darts bounced clear,

See their chariots wheel in panic

From the Hoplite's leveled spear.

See the goal grow monthly longer,

Reaching for the walls of Tyre.

Hear the crash of tons of granite,

Smell the quenchless eastern fire.

Still more clearly as a Roman,

Can I see the Legion close,

As our third rank moved in forward

And the short sword found our foes.

Once again I feel the anguish

Of that blistering treeless plain

When the Parthian showered death bolts,

And our discipline was in vain.

I remember all the suffering

Of those arrows in my neck.

Yet, I stabbed a grinning savage

As I died upon my back.

Once again I smell the heat sparks

When my Flemish plate gave way

And the lance ripped through my entrails

As on Crecy's field I lay.

In the windless, blinding stillness

Of the glittering tropic sea

I can see the bubbles rising

Where we set the captives free.

Midst the spume of half a tempest

I have heard the bulwarks go

When the crashing, point blank round shot

Sent destruction to our foe.

I have fought with gun and cutlass

On the red and slippery deck

With all Hell aflame within me

And a rope around my neck.

And still later as a General

Have I galloped with Murat

When we laughed at death and numbers

Trusting in the Emperor's Star.

Till at last our star faded,

And we shouted to our doom

Where the sunken road of Ohein

Closed us in its quivering gloom.

So but now with tanks a'clatter

Have I waddled on the foe

Belching death at twenty paces,

By the star shell's ghastly glow.

So as through a glass, and darkly

The age long strife I see

Where I fought in many guises,

Many names, but always me.

And I see not in my blindness

What the objects were I wrought,

But as God rules o'er our bickerings

It was through His will I fought.

So forever in the future,

Shall I battle as of yore,

Dying to be born a fighter,

But to die again, once more.

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This one never fails to amuse me. My favorite cousin is a die hard Marine. All four of his children, including his daughter are named after tanks. Bradley, Patton, Sherman and Sheridan Lee. They call her Sherri.

I taught Bradley and Patton this when they were 3.5 and 5 years old so they could sing it to their Dad. They taught it to Sherman and Sherri. My cousin was NOT amused. lol

The Marines, the Marines,

Those blasted Gyrenes,

Those seagoing bellhops,

Those brass-buttoned queens,

Oh! They pat their own back

Write stories in reams,

All in the praise of themselves—

The U.S. Marines!

The Marines, the Marines,

Those publicity fiends,

They built all the forests,

Turned on all the streams,

Discontent with the earth,

They say Heaven’s scenes

Are guarded by—you guess! Right!

U.S. Marines!

The moon never beams,

Except when the Marines

Give it permission to turn on its gleams.

And the tide never rises, the wind never screams—

Unless authorized by the U.S. Marines

The Marines, the Marines,

In their khakis and greens,

Their pretty blue panties,

Red stripes down their seams.

They have thought all the thoughts,

Dreamed all the dreams

Singing, “The Song of Myself”—

The U.S. Marines.

—From “Gismo” a publication for all servicemen in the South Pacific, this pent-up irritation was let out in doggerel “believed to be by a sailor.” May 6, 1944.

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Here is one of my favorite:

also as a song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHPZohMD6B0

When I was young and in my prime I thought I'd take a chance,

Join with my companions and fight the war in France,

John Redmond says when peace has come, Old Ireland will be free

When you return brave heroes from the war with Germany

And in my dreams I see them still come marching down the years The boys that stood beside mew in the Dublin fusiliers

There was Johnny Roach from Dolphins Barn and Micko from ringsend,

And Willy Doyle from Dalky town none better as a friend

We marched together through the mud the likes you never seen

And as we passed we sang a song ''The Wearing Of The Green''

And in my dreams I see them still come marching down the hill

The boys that stood beside me in the Dublin fusiliers

Poor Micko fell at messin ridge while trying to take the hill

A German bullet brought him down, his body cold and still

And Johnny Roach and Willie Doyle though they were never found

Like thousands they still lie today beneath the battle ground

And in my dreams I see them still, come marching down the hill,

The boys that stood beside me in the Dublin fusiliers

Now I no more not wanted here stranger in my home

I sit alone in my backyard and watch the sun go down

But medals are no good to you when you are old and grey

And the taste of gas upon your lips will never go away

And in my dreams I see them still, come marching down the hill

The boys that stood beside me in the Dublin fusiliers

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I was going togo with Hugh's choice - "Dulce et decorum Est" - and its lovely savage cynicism, so appropriate for WWI, but then I remembered the one below. Like Noor's, a song, and one which speaks particularly to a Canadian. The YouTube site is given at the bottom. Quite by coincidence - 'Jimmy Whitefish from Kenora' - I was in Kenora for 3 days ending yesterday and saw the sad state of many of our First Nations people in the economically depressed heart of their old hunting lands.

Vimy

Lyrics and Music: Steve and Rob Ritchie

Chorus

Raise your flask, aim your rifles high

I've had a dream, I've seen we three should have no fear at all

You'll die in Kenora, Billy; you, Jim, in Winnipeg

And I will end my days in Montreal

These people come to see me in my bedroom

With faces dim and names I can't recall

Some woman with a golden ring she comes to comb my hair

Then she dresses me and walks me down the hall

Well I can still put one foot before the other,

If someone points the way for me to go

Today the sun is shining and a crowd has gathered 'round

They put circles of red flowers on the stone

Chorus

Old Jim Rankin stood behind me in the tunnel

Spat on his bayonet and he wiped it with his hand

And he rocked from heel to heel, blew out his cheeks and whistled

While we waited for the signal to advance

Jimmy Rankin he was twenty and we thought him an old man

He said he'd fathered children by the score

By girls back in Winnipeg and girls in Calais

And he bragged, by God, there'd be a hundred more

Chorus

And Billy Whitefish from Kenora: jet black hair and eyes like coal

We all called him 'Chief' behind his back

He never smiled or laughed or joked or spoke that much at all

Just sat and smoked while we waited to attack

Well they poured shells over our heads into the hillside

In thirty yards our kit and boots were full of mud

But as we made the ridge, Jimmy went down on both knees

And he coughed into his sleeve and there was blood

Chorus

The last sound I ever heard was an explosion

And bodies flew like apples thrown by boys play

When I could see again, I was alone Jimmy wasn't there

And a crater marked the hillside where he'd lain

And Billy Whitefish from Kenora wound up in a German trench

Where he captured their machine gun all alone

And held them off until his ammunition was all spent

And they swarmed around and they hacked him to the bone

Chorus

Now every day I still remember what I told them

My two friends who that day from this earth were torn

And the craters and the trenches where they died now bear the names

Of the cities and the towns where they were born

Chorus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7J3-qgLEZM

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In the same vein, And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda...

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Eric Bogle

When I was a young man I carried me pack

And I lived the free life of the rover

From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback

I waltzed my Matilda all over

Then in 1915 my country said: Son,

It's time to stop rambling, there's work to be done

So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun

And they sent me away to the war

And the band played Waltzing Matilda

When the ship pulled away from the quay

And amid all the tears, flag waving and cheers

We sailed off for Gallipoli

It well I remember that terrible day

When our blood stained the sand and the water

And how in that hell they call Suvla Bay

We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter

Johnny Turk, he was ready, he primed himself well

He rained us with bullets, and he showered us with shell

And in five minutes flat, we were all blown to hell

He nearly blew us back home to Australia

And the band played Waltzing Matilda

When we stopped to bury our slain

Well we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs

Then it started all over again

Oh those that were living just tried to survive

In that mad world of blood, death and fire

And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive

While around me the corpses piled higher

Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head

And when I awoke in me hospital bed

And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead

I never knew there was worse things than dying

Oh no more I'll go Waltzing Matilda

All around the green bush far and near

For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs

No more waltzing Matilda for me

They collected the wounded, the crippled, the maimed

And they shipped us back home to Australia

The armless, the legless, the blind and the insane

Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla

And when the ship pulled into Circular Quay

I looked at the place where me legs used to be

And thank Christ there was no one there waiting for me

To grieve and to mourn and to pity

And the Band played Waltzing Matilda

When they carried us down the gangway

Oh nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared

Then they turned all their faces away

Now every April I sit on my porch

And I watch the parade pass before me

I see my old comrades, how proudly they march

Renewing their dreams of past glories

I see the old men all tired, stiff and worn

Those weary old heroes of a forgotten war

And the young people ask "What are they marching for?"

And I ask myself the same question

And the band plays Waltzing Matilda

And the old men still answer the call

But year after year, their numbers get fewer

Someday, no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda

Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong

So who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

These lyrics may or may not be copyrighted!

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This one never fails to amuse me. My favorite cousin is a die hard Marine. All four of his children, including his daughter are named after tanks. Bradley, Patton, Sherman and Sheridan Lee. They call her Sherri.

I taught Bradley and Patton this when they were 3.5 and 5 years old so they could sing it to their Dad. They taught it to Sherman and Sherri. My cousin was NOT amused. lol

The Marines, the Marines,

Those blasted Gyrenes,

Those seagoing bellhops,

Those brass-buttoned queens,

Oh! They pat their own back

Write stories in reams,

All in the praise of themselves—

The U.S. Marines!

The Marines, the Marines,

Those publicity fiends,

They built all the forests,

Turned on all the streams,

Discontent with the earth,

They say Heaven’s scenes

Are guarded by—you guess! Right!

U.S. Marines!

The moon never beams,

Except when the Marines

Give it permission to turn on its gleams.

And the tide never rises, the wind never screams—

Unless authorized by the U.S. Marines

The Marines, the Marines,

In their khakis and greens,

Their pretty blue panties,

Red stripes down their seams.

They have thought all the thoughts,

Dreamed all the dreams

Singing, “The Song of Myself”—

The U.S. Marines.

—From “Gismo” a publication for all servicemen in the South Pacific, this pent-up irritation was let out in doggerel “believed to be by a sailor.” May 6, 1944.

Fabulous! I immediately sent it out to my favorite Marine.

The Squid

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An American poet - a different war - the US Civil War:

Walt Whitman's "Artilleryman's Vision"

While my wife at my side lies slumbering, and the wars are over long,

And my head on the pillow rests at home, and the vacant midnight passes,

And through the stillness, through the dark, I hear, just hear, the

breath of my infant,

There in the room as I wake from sleep this vision presses upon me;

The engagement opens there and then in fantasy unreal,

The skirmishers begin, they crawl cautiously ahead, I hear the

irregular snap! snap!

I hear the sounds of the different missiles, the short t-h-t! t-h-t!

of the rifle-balls,

I see the shells exploding leaving small white clouds, I hear the

great shells shrieking as they pass,

The grape like the hum and whirr of wind through the trees,

(tumultuous now the contest rages,)

All the scenes at the batteries rise in detail before me again,

The crashing and smoking, the pride of the men in their pieces,

The chief-gunner ranges and sights his piece and selects a fuse of

the right time,

After firing I see him lean aside and look eagerly off to note the effect;

Elsewhere I hear the cry of a regiment charging, (the young colonel

leads himself this time with brandish'd sword,)

I see the gaps cut by the enemy's volleys, (quickly fill'd up, no delay,)

I breathe the suffocating smoke, then the flat clouds hover low

concealing all;

Now a strange lull for a few seconds, not a shot fired on either side,

Then resumed the chaos louder than ever, with eager calls and

orders of officers,

While from some distant part of the field the wind wafts to my ears

a shout of applause, (some special success,)

And ever the sound of the cannon far or near, (rousing even in

dreams a devilish exultation and all the old mad joy in the

depths of my soul,)

And ever the hastening of infantry shifting positions, batteries,

cavalry, moving hither and thither,

(The falling, dying, I heed not, the wounded dripping and red

heed not, some to the rear are hobbling,)

Grime, heat, rush, aide-de-camps galloping by or on a full run,

With the patter of small arms, the warning s-s-t of the rifles,

(these in my vision I hear or see,)

And bombs bursting in air, and at night the vari-color'd rockets.

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One of my favorite passages from Virgil's Aeneid. I spent four years in Naples, Italy. And as military brats are wont to do, we did some exploring where we weren't meant to. The Caves of Cuma and the underground passages to Lago D'Averno were one of those late night jaunts.

The Sibyl's prediction of war:

Within the cave, and Sibyl's voice restores:

"Escap'd the dangers of the wat'ry reign,

Yet more and greater ills by land remain.

The coast, so long desir'd (nor doubt th' event),

Thy troops shall reach, but, having reach'd, repent.

Wars, horrid wars, I view- a field of blood,

And Tiber rolling with a purple flood.

Simois nor Xanthus shall be wanting there:

A new Achilles shall in arms appear,

And he, too, goddess-born. Fierce Juno's hate,

Added to hostile force, shall urge thy fate.

To what strange nations shalt not thou resort,

Driv'n to solicit aid at ev'ry court!

The cause the same which Ilium once oppress'd;

A foreign mistress, and a foreign guest.

But thou, secure of soul, unbent with woes,

The more thy fortune frowns, the more oppose.

The dawnings of thy safety shall be shown

From whence thou least shalt hope, a Grecian town."

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Another from Rudyard Kipling

"A Song to Mithras"

'Hymn f the XXX Legion: Circa A.D. 350'

MITHRAS, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!

' Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!'

Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,

Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!

Mithras, God of the Noontide, the heather swims in the heat,

Our helmets scorch our foreheads ; our sandals burn our feet.

Now in the ungirt hour; now ere we blink and drowse,

Mithras, also a soldier, keep us true to our vows !

Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main,

Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again !

Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn,

Mithras, also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn!

Mithras, God of the Midnight, here where the great bull dies,

Look on Thy children in darkness. Oh take our sacrifice !

Many roads Thou hast fashioned: all of them lead to the Light,

Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright!

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The line that I have inscribed on my military college ring is "To Strive, To Seek, To Find, and not to Yield." This simple line has always inspired me. It is one of my favorite poems.

Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses."

It little profits that an idle king,

By this still hearth, among these barren crags,

Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole

Unequal laws unto a savage race,

That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel; I will drink

Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd

Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those

That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when

Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades

Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;

For always roaming with a hungry heart

Much have I seen and known,-- cities of men

And manners, climates, councils, governments,

Myself not least, but honor'd of them all,--

And drunk delight of battle with my peers,

Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met;

Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'

Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades

For ever and for ever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,

To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!

As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life

Were all too little, and of one to me

Little remains; but every hour is saved

>From that eternal silence, something more,

A bringer of new things; and vile it were

For some three suns to store and hoard myself,

And this gray spirit yearning in desire

To follow knowledge like a sinking star,

Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,

to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--

Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill

This labor, by slow prudence to make mild

A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees

Subdue them to the useful and the good.

Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere

Of common duties, decent not to fail

In offices of tenderness, and pay

Meet adoration to my household gods,

When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;

There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,

Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,--

That ever with a frolic welcome took

The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed

Free hearts, free foreheads,-- you and I are old;

Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.

Death closes all; but something ere the end,

Some work of noble note, may yet be done,

Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;

The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep

Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.

'T is not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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Simply this - by Lawrence Binyon (especially the first, comparitively unknown vwerse)

They went with songs to the battle, they were young. Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, They fell with their faces to the foe. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.

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Sorry...better format....

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.

Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

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THE SILENT ARMY

IAN ADANAC

IN The Montreal Daily Star

NO bugle is blown, no roll of drums,

No sound of an army marching.

No banners wave high, no battle--cry

Comes from the war-worn fields where they lie,

The blue sky overarching

The call sounds clearer than the bugle call '

From this silent, dreamless army.

No cowards were we, when we heard the call,

For freedom we grudged not to give our all,"

Is the call from the silent army.

Hushed and quiet and still they lie,

This silent, dreamless army,

While living comrades spring to their side,

And the bugle-call and the battle-cry

Are heard as dreamer and dreamless lie

Under the stars of the arching sky,

The men who have heard from the men who have die

The call of the silent army.

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All wonderfully evocative of the realities of war. Have never understood how non-military historians & collectors can think we collectors are 'glamourizing war' when we have access to such material. I suppose a few do, especially the 'sexy elite unit' brigade, but anyone who's read these poems with an ounce of comprehension would have to be a total burk not to get the point: "War is hell."

Hugh - my wife won't let me play 'The Band Played..." around the house. It makes her cry. I've felt that way myself a few time too.

Thanks for sharing, all!

Peter

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Here's a short, cheerful poem entitled, "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" by Randall Jarrell that was published in 1945:

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,

And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.

Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,

I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.

When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

Sort of puts the hero crap into the realm of reality, in my opinion...

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Funeral of Sir John Moore by Charles Woolfe

Not a drum was heard, nor a funeral note,

As his corse to the rampart we hurried;

Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot

O'er the grave where our hero we buried.

We buried him darkly at dead of night,

The sods with our bayonets turning;

By the struggling moonbeam's misty light

And the lantern dimly burning.

No useless coffin enclosed his breast,

Nor in sheet nor in shroud we wound him;

But he lay like a warrior taking his rest

With his martial cloak around him.

Few and short were the prayers we said,

And we spoke not a word of sorrow;

But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,

And we bitterly thought of the morrow.

We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed

And smoothed down his lonely pillow,

That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,

And we far away on the billow!

Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone

And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him,--

But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on

In the grave where a Briton has laid him.

But half of our heavy task was done

When the clock struck the hour for retiring:

And we heard the distant and random gun

That the foe was sullenly firing.

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,

From the field of his fame fresh and gory;

We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,

But left him alone with his glory.

Paul

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Here is another one that I really like......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmL3m2zcoOI

===============================

Rolf Harris - Two Little Boys

===============================

Two little boys had two little toys

Each had a wooden horse

Gaily they played each summer's day

Warriors both of course

One little chap then had a mishap

Broke off his horse's head

Wept for his toy then cried with joy

As his young playmate said

Did you think I would leave you crying

When there's room on my horse for two

Climb up here Jack and don't be crying

I can go just as fast with two

When we grow up we'll both be soldiers

And our horses will not be toys

And I wonder if we'll remember

When we were two little boys

Long years had passed, war came so fast

Bravely they marched away

Cannon roared loud, and in the mad crowd

Wounded and dying lay

Up goes a shout, a horse dashes out

Out from the ranks so blue

Gallops away to where Joe lay

Then came a voice he knew

Did you think I would leave you dying

When there's room on my horse for two

Climb up here Joe, we'll soon be flying

I can go just as fast with two

Did you say Joe I'm all a-tremble

Perhaps it's the battle's noise

But I think it's that I remember

When we were two little boys

Do you think I would leave you dying

There's room on my horse for two

Climb up here Joe, we'll soon by flying

Back to the ranks so blue

Can you feel Joe I'm all a tremble

Perhaps it's the battle's noise

But I think it's that I remember

When we were two little boys

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For me, it is the WW1 'Anthem, for Doomed Youth' by Wilfred Owen. I studied Wilfred Owen at school, back in the mid 1970's, as part of the English Literature curriculum, and this poem had quite a profound impact on me then and still does (it is the only poem I have never forgotten all the words to):

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle

Can patter out their hasty orisons.

No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,

Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -

The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;

And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?

Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes

Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.

The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;

Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,

And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds.

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A Soldier's Burial (1943)

General George S. Patton, Jr.

Not midst the chanting of the Requiem Hymn,

Nor with the solemn ritual of prayer,

Neath misty shadows from the oriel glass,

And dreamy perfume of the incensed air

Was he interred;

But in the subtle stillness after fight,

And the half light between the night and the day,

We dragged his body all besmeared with mud,

And dropped it, clod-like, back into the clay.

Yet who shall say that he was not content,

Or missed the prayers, or drone of chanting choir,

He who had heard all day the Battle Hymn

Sung on all sides by a thousand throats of fire.

What painted glass can lovelier shadows cast

Than those the evening skies shall ever shed,

While, mingled with their light, Red Battle's Sun

Completes in magic colors o'er our dead

The flag for which they died.

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A newcomer's choice:

Newbolt: Vitai Lampada

The Gatlin'gs jammed

And the colonel's dead ...

Yet a schoolboy's voice rallies the ranks:

Play up, play up and play the game!

Incomplete quote from memory.

MB

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