War Poetry

14Sep 2021 by
After reading the poetry several times, choose one and write a thematic response of 300 words. Remember to format according to MLA guide lines and use quotations for support. 

Poems are listed below


At nightfall the autumn woods cry out
With deadly weapons, and the golden plains
The deep blue lakes, above which more darkly
Rolls the sun; the night embraces
Dying warriors, the wild lament 
Of their broken mouths.
But quietly there in the pastureland
Red clouds in which an angry god resides,
The shed blood gathers, lunar coolness.
All the roads lead to the blackest carrion. 
Under golden twigs of the night and stars
The sister’s shade now sways through the silent copse
To greet the ghosts of the heroes, the bleeding heads;
And softly the dark flutes of autumn sound in the reeds.
O prouder grief! You brazen altars, 
Today a great pain feeds the hot flame of the spirit,
The grandsons yet unborn.

‘Grodek’ was written by the Austro-Hungarian poet Georg Trakl. (1887-1914)


Yielding clod lulls iron off to sleep
bloods clot the patches where they oozed
rusts crumble
fleshes slime
sucking lusts around decay. (5)
Murder on murder
in childish eyes.

Battlefield was written by the German poet August Stramm (1874 – 1915)


Skyrocket burst of hardened steel
A charming light on this fair place
These technicians’ tricks appeal
Mixing with courage a little grace

Two star shells first
In rose pink burst
Two breasts you lay bare with a laugh
Offer their insolent tips
………………some epitaph

A poet in the forest sees
Indifferent able to cope
His revolver catch at safe
Roses dying of their hope

Thinks of Saadi’s roses then
Bows his head draws down his lip
As a rose reminds him of
The softer curving of a hip

The air is full of a terrible
Liquor from half shut stars distilled
Projectiles stroke the soft nocturnal
Perfume with your image filled
Where the roses all are killed

The poem was written by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918).






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 mother’s crying too. There’s no reprieve.

And now look how the sun’s begun to set.
A nice mass-grave is all that I shall get.

Once more the good old sunset’s glowing red.
In thirteen days I’ll probably be dead.

The poem was written by the German poet Alfred Lichtenstein (1889-1914)


(another translation of Leaving for the Front)

Before dying I am making my poem.
Quiet, comrades, don’t disturb me.
We are going off to war. Death is our cement.
If only my beloved did not shed these tears for me.
What am I doing. I go gladly.
Mother is crying. One must be made of iron.
The sun sinks to the horizon.
Soon I shall be tossed into a gentle mass grave.
In the sky the fine red of evening is burning.
Perhaps in thirteendays I’ll be dead.




Breaking Camp

Once before, fanfares tore to blood my impatient heart 
So, like a rearing horse that bit its mouth apart. 
Then, the march of drumbeats drove the storm along the ways, 
And most wonderful music of the earth sent us bullet sprays. 
Then, suddenly, life stood still. Paths led between old trees. (5)
Rooms beckoned. It was sweet, to stay awhile and be at ease, 
The body from reality released as from dusty armour freed, 
To lie voluptuously in the feather down of soft dreams’ bed. 
But one morning through mist air the echo of signals rolled 
Hard, sharp, a singing sword-thrust. As if fingers of light in the dark took hold.

It was as when trumpets’ blare through dawn bivouacs sound, 
Sleepers spring to action, camp is broken, horses paw the ground. 
I was lined in ranks that pushed into the dawn, fire over helmet and saddle 
Forwards, in the eyes and in the blood, with stiff-held reins, the battle. 
At day’s end, perhaps, paeans for us would play, (15)
Perhaps under the dead somewhere stretched out we lay. 
Yet before the stir to arms and before to earth we sink 
Full and gleaming our eyes would of the world and sunlight drink.

The poem was written by the German poet Ernst Stadler(1883-1914).


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