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Two popular and long-established collections of  war poetry of the
First World War

Minds at War
A comprehensive
anthology of poetry of the First World War. All the greatest war poems of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon and war poems of over 70 other notable poets. All set in the context of the poets' lives and historical records. With historic photographs and cartoons.  Edited by David Roberts.
 400 pages £15-99 (UK)



Out in the Dark
Anthology of
First World War poetry recommended for students and the general reader.
19 poems by
Wilfred Owen
, 27 by Siegfried Sassoon and over 90 more war poems by 45 significant poets including women writers. Contextual information and basic notes on many poems. Illustrated.  Edited by David Roberts.
185 pages - £10-99 (UK)



Falklands War Poetry cover

The War Poetry Website - War Poems 2006

Poems and poets on this page


Leo Yankevich - Irish/Polish/American - No Flowers, No Doves The July Sun Over Lebanon 
Arbab Sikandar - Mandi Bahahuddin Pakistan - From 9/11 to Iraq, Being In Nothingness
Héber Vicente Bensi - Wars
Marianne Griffin - Dancing deer
Yousaf Mukhtar  - medical student - 15 minuets on the news
Hubert Wilson - US veteran - The Wars of Kenny Marchant and George W. Bush
Andrew Grossman - US, Detainee poems 
Ann-Marie Spittle - Three remembrance poems
Jason Shelton - serving in Iraq - Soldiers' Memories

 

Leo Yankevich

No Flowers, No Doves

When we entered the burning city
charred corpses greeted us.
A child's hand dangled from a scorched tree
and the twisted wreckage of a bus
mocked the stillness of the sky.
Gunner gagged, Ski scratched his head, 
neither understanding why
he had to liberate the dead. 

Leo Yankevich  

The July Sun Over Lebanon 

She hears bombs raze the nunnery. 
She hears F-16s on their way 
back to Israel, to reload 
new bombs sent from America. 
Blinding smoke burns in her eyes 
and shrouds the limbs of terrorists, 
boys and girls from grammar school 
who in the spring first learned to count. 

Leo Yankevich 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Leo Yankevic

A critic, editor, poet and translator associated with The New Formalist movement, Leo Yankevich was born into a family of Roman Catholic Irish-Polish immigrants on October 30, 1961. He grew up and attended high school in Farrell, PA, a small steel town in the Rust Belt of middle America. He then studied History and Polish Literature at Alliance College, Cambridge Springs, PA, receiving a BA in 1984. Later that year he travelled to Poland to begin graduate study at the centuries-old Jagiellonian University in Krakow. A staunch anti-communist, he played an active role in the dissident movement in that country, and was arrested and beaten badly on a few occasions by the communist security forces. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, he decided to settle permanently in Poland. Since that time he has lived in Gliwice (Gleiwitz), an industrial city in Upper Silesia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Yankevich

 

Books by Leo Yankevich

The Language of Birds; Pygmy Forest Press, 1994
Grief's Herbs (translations after the Polish of Stanislaw Grochowiak); The Mandrake Press, 1995
The Gnosis of Gnomes; The Mandrake Press, 1995
Epistle from The Dark; The Mandrake Press, 1996
The Golem of Gleiwitz; The Mandrake Press, 1998
'"The Unfinished Crusade"; The Mandrake Press, 2000
"The Last Silesian"; The Mandrake Press, 2005
"Metaphysics" by Leo Yankevich
"You Who Live And Hear" by Leo Yankevich*


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Poems by Arbab Sikandar

(Mandi Bahahuddin, Punjab, Pakistan) 

From 9/11 to Iraq

A man broke a windowpane
Of a very big house
In retaliation
The house of the neighbor
Of the so called culprit
Was devastated
And, then, taken over
By the owner of that big house
This is the twenty first century justice!

Arbab Sikandar Gondal

 

Being In Nothingness

Do you know the moments?
When life turns into nothingness
It's when a nation wages a war against another one
It's when a child dies of hunger in Africa
And co called activists talk about animal rights!
It's when humans kill each other
In the name of God!
Against the very spirit of their own religions!
It's when injustice and discrimination prevail
Based on skin colour and beliefs!
It's when masses are hoodwinked
By the propaganda machinery of their own elected Masters
It's when your beloved ones set off
To an endless voyage and invincible destination
And you can not help it!

Arbab Sikandar Gondal

Copyright 2006.

 


Héber Vicente Bensi

Wars

The war becomes incandescent the brain,
In the to resound of the myths and legends,
The died appears behind the mirrors...
Saying that in war all lose.

Poets bleed trying to shout,
Expelling messages ignored,
Asking for peace and future,
But to the money the lords point...

And the money points all to the war!

Goldsmithery, how much is this gun?
Why it is in poor countries...
Where food the people can't buy?

Héber Vicente Bensi Bensi


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Yousaf Mukhtar


15 Minutes on the News

15 minutes on the news
devoted to a 'crisis'
of great magnitude.

We hear, watch
But do we listen, see
and will we feel
their new found freedom

as the bombs drop around them?
as the fear surrounds them?
as the F16s hound them?
all the bloodshed about them?
all the killing, murder, death besieging them?

Heartlessly
we turn away,
resume with our lives
lifelessly.
After all
we are dead inside.

Mute/silent witnesses,
To a crime
Where innocence dies.
Every day
The fresh blood of children screams out
replacing their voices
Every day
A piece of our hearts rot away
every day

Are we deaf
to a child or a mother's cry?
Ask yourself why?

The collateral damage of Qana
Precision targeting
Of defenceless women and children
massacred
as we, the whole of mankind
watch on
muted voices,
while the stench of the burnt flesh
of children covers us.

Why do the children have to die?
Ask yourself why?

15 minutes on the news
generations of destruction
Turn the channel over
we have seen enough


Yousaf Mukhtar,
3rd year medical student


A poem sent by Marianne Griffin

This is part of a message she sent with it on 12 November 2006:

I attach a poem I wrote a couple of weeks ago after a chance encounter with a deer in Ashdown Forest ~ fortunately he/she danced away to safety.   My sister had a similar experience, she tells me, up in Rushmoor Woods near Farnborough, but  the next time she went down that road she found a similar deer who had not survived her dance through the forest.

I shall be going to the civic Remembrance Day service at . . . Maybe we ought to read the words of Chief Seattle on Remembrance Day too, and remember that the living planet itself is under attack, every living thing being linked to each other ..... the water, the trees, the plants , whole ecosystems, habitats, animals ... and us humans who are trying to dominate Nature. All nations' God is the same except by name and we all live on the same planet. We are all brothers and sisters, but we do not understand each other's ways, and this is the problem.

"Go in Peace today. Love and be loved. The Fountain  of Truth will prevail for a few hours at least today and make people wonder ..... 'why ?' "

Marianne Griffin

The Dancing Deer

Climbing up the forest road
I was suddenly plunged into utter darkness,
Dark shadows of the trees
Intersected by diagonal shafts
Of late afternoon sunlight,
One minute golden,
Rosy hued the next,
Dancing, flickering down ...
Upon a sudden leap
Before my disbelieving eyes,
A reckless bound
Into the humming trackway
That would have taken ancient travellers
Upon their country journey,
But now filled with creatures of the space age.
Into the darkness of the highway
Came a sentient creature
Carelessly cutting across the flow
Of mad machines invading his silent home.
There, but for the grace of God,
He leaped ~ high, majestic,
Right in front of me.
For a moment
His rotund fearful eye
Met mine, hearts both pounding,
Exchanging eons of thoughts,
A string of whys and hows.
And then he was gone,
Bounding to safety again in the woods,
Having said all, and I little,
But knowing Man had invaded
His home, and even dared
To kill his kind for food.
And I was so sorry.
My sorrow was for humanity
Sliding down a slippery
Path to destruction;
For life upon this beautiful planet
Which we need to
Be at peace with and respect,
And all her creatures
Like the dancing deer.

Marianne Griffin
2006


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Hubert Wilson

The Wars of Kenny Marchant and George W. Bush

[Kenny Marchant is a US Congressman] 

Hiding during the Vietnam War!
You are now both supporters of Iraq gore!
Perfectly content,
Others' lives to be spent!
Course America now must stay!
Real American values you both betray!
Into another hopeless morass!
Totally ignoring your own obscure Vietnam pasts!
Expect history not to be kind!
Sidestepping Vietnam service to later have America maligned!

Hubert Wilson, 1 November  06

A son, a brother, a husband, a father, a veteran

 

 

Andrew Grossman

Detainee #193993s

1.

I live in the seventh cell.
I burn in the seventh hell.
I rise at the seventh bell.
Allah free the soul.
Allah free the soul.
Free me from the jailer’s smell.
Spread the Word I cannot tell.
Allah free the soul.

Andrew Grossman, 2006

 

Detainee #393463c

I.

I am a tiger.
In a leap of fire
I break your limbs
One by one.
Far from anger,
Disarmed by strength,
I wait for time
To undo you.

II.

Once more I write you a letter
Regarding the sparrows you sent last year.
The birds wake me each morning,
Squawking and snapping their beaks.
I have dreams of out wheeling the rain,
But when sleep is denied me, I see the mistake.
Tightly held stillness keeps me alive.
Please consider taking back your gift.

Andrew Grossman, 2006

 

Detainee #225841x

Sometimes a man stands during interrogation
And walks toward the door, and keeps on walking
Into a courtyard that stands somewhere in the East.
And his family one day hears that he has died
And say blessings on his memory.
And another man, who remains inside the room,
Stays inside the torture and the terror.
His family has to go far into the world to find him
And when they do, he breaks in their arms.
His smile of stone keeps on walking.

Andrew Grossman, 2006

Detainee #096422p

What my heart will be is a tower,
And I will be right out on its rim:
Nothing else will be there, only pain
And what can’t be said, only the world.
Only one thing left in the enormous space
That will go dark and then light again,
Only one final face full of longing,
Exiled into what is always full of thirst,
Only one farthest-out face made of stone,
At peace with its own inner weight,
Which the distances, who go on ruining it,
Force on to deeper holiness.

Andrew Grossman, 2006


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Ann-Marie Spittle

MEMORIES OF PAST TIMES

See me march past with the others who remember,
But not with my legs do I pound the parade pathway
Wheeled am I for I am old
But the memories do not die as my comrades did

Little Tommy Tomkins the London Cockney Sparrow
Died when his head got blown off
And I saw it roll towards me
And I froze, and then I ran

Nobbie Clark always up with the lark
Died in a mortar attack
There was nothing left to send home
So they sent back anyone’s to keep the widow’s memories

The list goes on and here am I alive
When I should be with them
A forgotten body in a Flanders field

Yet here I am
I am the record keeper of the Great War
A war to end all wars they told us
But on they rage like an unchained animal that has tasted human blood
But not mine

I ask myself why not me
And then one day an answer
"Keep these memories and pass them on
That the young may learn and remember"

So here I am being wheeled again
Past the memories of a nation
And I remember Tommy and Nobby
Because nobody else alive does

Ann-Marie Spittle
2006

 

TO THE FEW

Heads bent solemnly in remembrance
As the prayers of thanks are read
Those here have walked the byways of the dead
And have brought tales for the young
That death may not visit them so easily
Seas of faces that should be so much more
Line the walkway of the monarch
Who has stood with them since youth
And still stands now
As they do
Hymns lace the air
And many fly with the notes
Scenes pass before their eyes for a moment
Then are gone
As they pull themselves forward to the now
As the last post echoes through the hills
Of lands that have been torn, or part of war
And the tears roll out of the buglers mouth
And join the tracks on the faces of the few
And then silence
 
Silent contemplation

Then reveille

And the remembrance that life follows death
And will for all time

But not all is black this day
For happy times are shared
Of battles fought
And friends met once again
Who many thought had gone long ago

Songs of their time are re-enacted
And Churchill lives again through the actors art
And many return to those speeches
And remember their resolve in those dark days

Fluttering butterfly wings of banners
Carried by those once arthritic
Have made the final push to stand and be counted
Marching to the songs of their lands
Men stand to see them pass
Though regiments that held their names
Have gone into histories archives

Then the march to end all marches
As the warriors of old give it their all
As if their youth had revisited them
And the streets are lined with the grateful
And those who came for their own reasons
And the waves follow them
Lapping gently at their heels
Until every space is filled outside the place of Royalty
And then the beast of war awakens
And flies over as it did in the days of need
Red petals cascade upon the watchers
And a nations heart opens
Filling the air
And says thank you

Ann-Marie Spittle
2006

 

DO YOU KNOW?

When darkness comes
And with it the shadows of the dead
Do you know?
When battles fought fly around my head
Do you know?
When you speak with an acid tongue
And tell me I was wrong
Do you know the price we paid
In the jungles of Vietnam?

No sit there in your easy chair
And dream your dreams of comfort
Do not break your narrow view
Or try to see from my side
For you break into fears sweat
If your welfare check’s to late
Or someone knocks upon your door
When its getting to way past eight

You judge me without knowing
And that is no judge at all
For experience tells the adult
What the young do not yet know
Just give me one small ounce of feeling
As a parent to a child
And hug me as my heart is breaking
Right here deep inside

I suffered more than you can know
In that dark leafed place
Where death walked side by side with me
And often showed his face
Some days I did not know if I
Was ever coming home
And then I’m faced with acid rain
From you when I come home

I fought because I’m a soldier
And a warriors hearts beats within me
You comfort lover would not understand this
So I retreat
But know this when you finally see
Before your last breath leaves you cold
That all I wanted was your love
And not a heart of stone

Ann-Marie Spittle
2006


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Jason Shelton

Soldiers Memories

2003 has been and gone but the memories are always there.
Here life still goes on just the same,
Every morning when we wake the faces are there with us,
the smells are strong, 
our silent companions, our new brothers in arms.
Who do we tell?
No one,
after all, we are soldiers, aren't we?
Its 2006 and still the suffering continues:
Baghdad, Al Basrah, Al Amarah, An Nasiriyah, Al Shaibah,Safwan, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham, London...
Is it all just in our heads?

If we forget who will remember
or who will care?
No one.

Jason Shelton
June 2006