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Poems written 1914-45


Introduction and Contents (2)
There is also an index of the poems

Poems written after 1945

My initial idea was to select poems from the immediate aftermath years, but I have received many suggestions about more modern poems which should be added to the collection. Vernon Scannell's The Great War has probably been mentioned the most. Scannell of course, saw service in the Second World War, and yet, as he says, in the closing lines of the poem

... I remember,
Not the war I fought in
But the one called Great
Which ended in a sepia November
Four years before my birth.

Philip Larkin's MCXIV contains the now familiar phrase "never such innocence again" and starts off with that haunting picture of men who thought it would be a bit of fun which would all be over by Christmas

Those long uneven lines
Standing as patiently
As if they were stretched outside
The Oval or Villa Park,
The crowns of hats, the sun
On moustached archaic faces
Grinning as if it were all
An August Bank Holiday lark;

In A Letter to the Dead RL Barth imagines sharing his trench in Vietnam with Sassoon, Blunden and Owen. "War's war" he says to them, "We are, my friends, no different."

The War Graves is taken from Michael Longley's new collection The Weather in Japan, which was published in February 2000. The poem is full of wonderfully evocative images, like his description of the a war cemetery where "the headstones wipe out the horizon like a blizzard".

The Pope's Nose was sent to me by David Hughes, a schoolteacher from York, who wrote it last year. Perhaps it's the first of many such contributions by visitors to the Aftermath site - I can only hope so.  

Whether you wish to send your own poems, or suggest a piece which I haven't included here, I'd be delighted to hear from you.




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Aftermath - when the boys came home

Sunday 26 February 2006