POEMS (AND POETS) OF WORLD WAR ONE
When in the sixth form at Wanganui High School an number of years ago now, we studied the war poets and poems of World War One. This must of left an impression on me as I am not a big fan of poetry but these still send a shiver up my spine.
Probably the most famous is "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian doctor John McCRAE. For more on John McCrae and his poem try HERE
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
This particularly poignant poem was not written until well after the war. I think of it as the Gallipoli poem.
THE ANZAC MEMORIAL
Those heroes that shed their blood And lost their lives...
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries...
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom And are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.
And as heard at every RSA Funeral and ANZAC Day service in New Zealand. For more on Laurence Binyon try HERE
They shall not grow 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.
We will remember them.
The next two were found in my husband's grandmothers autograph book. She was Maggie Dean ALEXANDER nee SAUNDERS and lived in Hawera, South Taranaki. The first was signed by Thomas BARKLA, a neighbour who later became Maggies brother-in-law.
Phillis, your method of raising recruits
smacks of the press-gang a trifle
Here I am wearing impossible boots
And marching about with a rifle
Because you have said
We can never be wed
Until I am carried home, wounded or dead
Now I've a number instead of a name
The cut of my clothes is atrocious
Daily I'm drilled until aching and lame
By officers young and precocious
Who force me to lie
On my tummy to try
And shoot an imaginary bull in the eye.
Please do not think I'm unwilling to go
I've no intention quitting;
But Phillis, there's one thing I really must know.
For whom is that muffler you're knitting?
I don't care a lot
If by Germans I'm shot;
But if that is for me
I'll desert on the spot!
and the second from her autograph book
For The Empire
"I'll give my life, it is the least I can,
and count it not a hardship so to do
But rather reckon it a privilege
That I am able to". Thus speaks the man.
"Lo! I shall send against the kultured churl
The man I love, that England may be free.
Sad I'll wait and pray that he be brought
In safety back to me." So speaks the girl.
"And ever when we hear old Englands call,
We'll rally round the flag & fight full well
And for the Empire give the best we can
Our fiendish foes to quell". Thus say we all.
This was signed F C DUNLOP - Trooper - 9th Reinforcements. He was a neighbour of the SAUNDERS. I assume that these two poems were not orginals but know nothing of their origins.
This was sent to me by an email friend Adele:
The New Zealanders' Farewell to The South Africans.
Tis to bid farewell to you, Springbok boys,
That we gather here to-night,
For we leave you soon in the homes you
left to join the Empire's fight.
You did your share in German West when
the Kaiser cast the die,
And we are sorry now to leave you, but war
is all "goodbye"
And we envy those rows of ribbons that
some of your veterans wear,
and their faces brown from the lands they've
seen and their smile so devil-may-care.
We met you first twelve months ago when we
chased the Sennussi gang.
And you proved you were true Colonials then,
and your name thro the Empire rang.
Then with us again you came to France, and
were put to the shell-fire test,
and the word went round, "Springboks on our left"
And old Fritz got no rest,
for you worried the Huns the whole day long,
you strafed him day and night,
and the Crown Prince found to his Army's cost
that the Springbok boys could fight.
And you did the job at Delville Wood, and
you made it a living hell:
Twas the first tough job you were sent to do,
and you did it, and did it well,
with a Glorious rush that frightened Fritz,
you were one of the Germans ten
and when Fritz attacked you drove him off
with a handful of your men,
and you beat us once in the Rugby field
tho' we thought we knew the game,
but you showed us you could play it too,
and played it like gentleman.
But when sports meet sports in the playing field,
defeat is no disgrace,
and the Springbok now with the Fern Leaf
on the Black Flag take it's place,
then here's good luck to your fighting men,
for we know you will see it through,
when the bloody sword shall clash no more
We'll play rugby again with you.
But we hope this peace will do away
with all War and War's alarms
but if the Empire calls may our children meet
and like us the brother in arms.
His granddaughter gave the information of this soldier, to George Neich, a descendant of the family, and he has give Adele Pentony-Graham permission to use it. Unfortunately, Thomas Clark never lived to see his son, who was born the following year, 1919.
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