Michael Rosen: The Pig-man

The tide of war retreated across the suburbs

leaving gas-masks in attics, a man with one leg

on the bench by the library, an air-raid shelter

in the park which one day, the kid with the

most nerve took us down and where we found…

via Michael Rosen: The Pig-man

L/Corporal Herbert James Francis Walsh – 1887 – 1918 – A 102 year tribute – A Poem “Tommy”. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

field of poppiesMy grandfather was in the army for about five years as a boy soldier and came out in 1907 as a trained carpenter. In 1914 he rejoined the Royal Engineers and served throughout the war. Wounded thre…

Source: L/Corporal Herbert James Francis Walsh – 1887 – 1918 – A 102-year tribute – A Poem “Tommy”. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

How red poppies came to be given out on Memorial Day | The Cotton Boll Conspiracy

In Flanders Fields

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. W…

Source: How red poppies came to be given out on Memorial Day | The Cotton Boll Conspiracy

To His Son Benedict from the Tower of London by John Hoskyns

19th-century engraving of The Trusty Servant, from the 1579 painting by John Hoskins [sic]

The epigram attached to the Hoskyns family is ‘Imprison thy tongue or it will thee.’ In other words, keep your trap shut or you’ll end up in trouble! His descendants, which include the owner of this blog, still have similar problems because we tend to open our mouths when it would be prudent to keep our thoughts to ourselves. John Hoskyns was imprisoned at the same time as John Aubrey, who mentions him in Brief Lives.

1614
To His Son Benedict from the Tower of London by John Hoskyns 1614

Sweet Benedict, whilst thou art young,
And know’st not yet the use of tongue,
Keep it in thrall whilst thou art free:
Imprison it or it will thee.

John Hoskyns (1566-1638)

© Sarah Vernon

Charge of the Light Brigade by Tennyson

Fenton, Valley of the Shadow of Death, with cannonballs, Crimea (1855)

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley o…

Source: Charge of the Light Brigade by Tennyson

A Short Analysis of Isaac Rosenberg’s ‘The Troop Ship’ | Interesting Literature

According to Robert Graves, Isaac Rosenberg was one of the three poets of significance who died during the First World War. Although his reputation has been overshadowed by Wilfred Owen (who died in 1918, the same year as Rosenberg), he was an important voice during WWI, as his short poem ‘The Troop Ship’ demonstrates. Here is the poem, followed by a brief analysis of its features.

The Troop Ship
Grotesque and queerly huddled
Contortionists to twist…

Source: A Short Analysis of Isaac Rosenberg’s ‘The Troop Ship’ | Interesting Literature

“Motto” Dresses: 1924

Mrs Daffodil Digresses

Jacobite garter http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O359842/garter-unknown/ Jacobite garter http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O359842/garter-unknown/

“MOTTO” DRESSES.

The “motto” dress is the latest fancy of the Parisienne. It is an outcome of and an improvement upon the fad of working blouses and jumpers with the wearer’s monogram or cypher. A “motto” gown has a charming little aphorism, or even a slang phrase, fancifully worked in the form of embroidery on the pocket, the neck scarf or the girdle or panels. Sometimes the motto takes the form of a play upon the wearer’s name, but no matter what its origin, it must be either “short and smart,” or “short and sweet,” to achieve distinction and success. Sports dresses, in particular, adorned in this way are very popular, while tea gowns and boudoir wraps often support sentimental or intimate phrases. These latter are so skilfully intertwined in the embroidery that often only those that are shown the words have any hint that they exist.

View original post 464 more words

Five Cockney Poets | HistoryLondon

First Night Design

Originally posted on HistoryLondon.

Was it something in the water? Wandering around the City of London’s Square Mile I have been surprised to learn that five of England’s greatest poets were born here, within a few hundred yards of each other, in a concentration of poetic genius I would hazard is not surpassed anywhere else in the world.

The lives of the five: John Milton, Alexander Pope, Thomas Gray, John Keats and Thomas Hood, occupied a key period of about 250 years of London’s history from 1600 to 1850. Their poetic styles were very different, and none of them, except perhaps Hood, is remembered particularly as a London writer, but I thought it would be interesting to find out what they had to say about their home city.

In 1608, John Milton was born an unquestioned Cockney, in Bread Street just three houses south of Cheapside and the…

via Five Cockney…

View original post 4 more words

A Symbol of Non-Violence Ideology

The Genealogy of Style

Man putting flower in National Guard gun


Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children. The term later became generalized as a modern reference to the hippie movement and the so-called counterculture of drugs, psychedelic music, psychedelic art and social permissiveness.

Flower Power originated in Berkeley, California as a symbolic action of protest against the Vietnam War. In his November 1965 essay titled How to Make a March/Spectacle, Ginsberg advocated…

View original post 210 more words

Anzac Cove by Leon Maxwell Gellert

Anzac Cove by Leon Maxwell Gellert

There’s a lonely stretch of hillocks;
There’s a beach asleep and drear,
There’s a battered broken fort beside the sea.
There are sunken trampled graves;
And a little rotting pier;
And winding paths that wind unceasingly.
There’s a torn and silent valley;
There’s a tiny rivulet
With some blood upon the stones beside its mouth.
There are lines of buried bones;
There’s an unpaid waiting debt;
There’s a sound of gentle sobbing in the South.

Leon Maxwell Gellert (1892-1977) – January, 1916.

Source

Italian Dandyism: Gabriele D’Annunzio

e-Tinkerbell

da9Dandyism spread in Italy as well at the end of the nineteenth century and  Gabriele D’annunzio was its most outstanding exponent, for sure.  Aesthete, politician, journalist, playwright, poet, lover: D’Annunzio was a man of many passions, but above all the architect of himself. He studied and created his own image carefully, a mixture of exquisite taste and love for heroic actions.He was associated with the elite Arditi storm troops of the Italian Army and took part in actions such as the Flight over Vienna in 1918. Some of the ideas and aesthetics seem to have influenced Italian fascism and also the style of Benito Mussolini. However he was the Vate, the Bard, of the Italian literature during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Gabriele D’Annunzio  moved to Rome, when he was but nineteen and was soon fascinated by the swirling atmosphere of the capital. He managed to open his way to…

View original post 439 more words

Tell Me, John, Let Me Hear it Once by Seumas Gallacher

Tell Me, John, Let Me Hear it Once

by Seumas Gallacher

Tell me, John, let me hear it once

From beyond the grave wherein you lie.

Tell me once, that I may know

Why the Hell did you have to die?

Now that I myself am growing old

As you were not allowed to do,

When your country went to War,

Killing them, and us, and you.

Is Humanity so bereft

Of sense and sensibility?

That murder dressed as War

Is the tip of Man’s ability?

Yes, my dear, I understand

There’s times to right the wrong

When Nation pits at Nation

To prove which one is strong.

But feel each mother’s loss

The angst, the grief, the pain

It’s no use telling them,

‘Let them not have died in vain’.

For every priceless child that’s gone,

Every precious son and daughter,

There can ne’er be salve enough

To ease the cost of slaughter.

So, yes, let us remember,

Not the glory, nor the killing

Nor the rant of politicians

Sending us to do their willing.

Yes, please,

Tell me, John, let me hear it once

From beyond the grave wherein you lie.

Tell me once, that I may know

Why the Hell did you have to die?

With thanks to Seumas Gallacher for allowing me to republish his moving poem on First Night History.

War Girls by Jessie Pope

From Troubles of The World

There’s the girl who clips your ticket for the train,
And the girl who speeds the lift from floor to floor,
There’s the girl who does a milk-round in the rain,
And the girl who calls for orders at your door.
Strong, sensible, and fit,
They’re out to show their grit,
And tackle jobs with energy and knack.
No longer caged and penned up,
They’re going to keep their end up
Till the khaki boys come marching back.

There’s the motor girl who drives a heavy van,
There’s the butcher girl who brings your joint of meat,
There’s the girl who cries ‘All fares, please!’ like a man,
And the girl who whistles taxis up the street.
Beneath each uniform
Beats a heart that’s soft and warm,
Though of canny mother-wit they show no lack;
But a solemn statement this is,
They’ve no time for love and kisses
Till the…

View original post 14 more words

Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

"Wilfred Owen plate from Poems (1920)" by Unknown - http://www.archive.org/details/poemsowenwil00owenrich. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wilfred_Owen_plate_from_Poems_(1920).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Wilfred_Owen_plate_from_Poems_(1920).jpg

“Wilfred Owen plate from Poems (1920)” by Unknown

Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen [1893-1918]

Nineteen-Fourteen — Rupert Brooke • National Poetry Day 2 October #NPDLive

Rupert Brooke

Rupert Brooke 1887-1915

National Poetry Day

As this year’s theme for today’s National Poetry Day (UK) is ‘Remember’, I give you Nineteen-Fourteen by Rupert Brooke. We must always remember that the world went to war one hundred years ago and that it was not ‘A War to End All Wars’. While the élite take ever more control over our lives and use war to put money in their pockets, remembering and learning from history becomes increasingly important. Politicians have to be stopped from ruining people’s lives time and again.

Brooke’s sonnets may be on the sentimental side and the poet himself have experienced only one day of action during the evacuation at Antwerp before succumbing to an infection, but I believe the poem, and its author’s association with pre-war innocence, has the power to bring us up short, reminding us that war is bloody and pointless.  Even the first line — Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour — shows how contemporary propaganda swept up eager young men to be slaughtered in the name of that dangerous concept, patriotism.

Nineteen-Fourteen

I. Peace

Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,
And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
And all the little emptiness of love!

Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
Where there’s no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
Nothing to shake the laughing heart’s long peace there
But only agony, and that has ending;
And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.

II. Safety

Dear! of all happy in the hour, most blest
He who has found our hid security,
Assured in the dark tides of the world at rest,
And heard our word, ‘ Who is so safe as we?’
We have found safety with all things undying,
The winds, and morning, tears of men and mirth,
The deep night, and birds singing, and clouds flying,
And sleep, and freedom, and the autumnal earth.
We have built a house that is not for Time’s throwing.
We have gained a peace unshaken by pain for ever.
War knows no power. Safe shall be my going,
Secretly armed against all death’s endeavour;
Safe though all safety’s lost; safe where men fall;
And if these poor limbs die, safest of all.

III. The Dead

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men call age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.

IV. The Dead

Dear! of all happy in the hour, most blest
He who has found our hid security,
Assured in the dark tides of the world at rest,
And heard our word, ‘ Who is so safe as we?’
We have found safety with all things undying,
The winds, and morning, tears of men and mirth,
The deep night, and birds singing, and clouds flying,
And sleep, and freedom, and the autumnal earth.
We have built a house that is not for Time’s throwing.
We have gained a peace unshaken by pain for ever.
War knows no power. Safe shall be my going,
Secretly armed against all death’s endeavour;
Safe though all safety’s lost; safe where men fall;
And if these poor limbs die, safest of all.

V. The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Related

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah