Sunday, November 14, 2010

Poems of War and Remembrance

Poetry for Veteran's Day from About Poetry and elsewhere 

"The beginning of the end of war lies in remembrance.”  Herman Wouk

Still can't beat either the Iliad (war) or the Odyssey (a veteran's homecoming). Nor the Aeneid (defeated escape into exile, memories of loss) for that matter. Lucan's Pharsalia either. Then there are the medieval epics: El Cid, Roland and others. 

and now to About's War and Remembrance feature ...
From Bob Holman & Margery Snyder, your Guide to Poetry
Veteran's Day began as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. That war, known at the time as the Great War, sparked an outpouring of still-remembered poems, and for this Veteran's Day nearly 100 years later, we have selected a few of those memorable poems to add to our collection: Poems of War and Remembrance.

"Comrades" and "Back" 
by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson Two brief and poignant poems that capture the experience of the young soldier, marching away to war in a foreign land, shadowed by the ghosts that have gone before him and forever changed by the experience.

"The Soldier" 
by Rupert Brooke A sonnet singing of the home each soldier carries with him, even dead and buried far, far away—"there's some corner of a foreign field / That is for ever England..." Rupert Brooke died on his way to the battle at Gallipoli in 1915 and is buried on the island of Skyros, Greece.

"Anthem for Doomed Youth" 
by Wilfred Owen Another sonnet, this one containing in its 14 lines war's horror—"the monstrous anger of the guns" visited upon "these who die as cattle..."

"Country at War" 
by Robert Graves This poem, not published until well after the end of World War I, goes back and forth between the unending cycles of the home front—"The wheat goes yellow: women reap..."—and the disjuncture and devastation of battle—"How furiously against your will / You kill and kill again, and kill..."

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