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Distributed for Imperial War Museums

First World War Poems from the Front

From “How to Die,” by Siegfried Sassoon
Dark clouds are smouldering into red
While down the craters morning burns.
The dying soldier shifts his head
To watch the glory that returns;
He lifts his fingers toward the skies
Where holy brightness breaks in flame;
Radiance reflected in his eyes,
And on his lips a whispered name.

The poems in this anthology—all written by poets who served on the front line—draw readers into the horrors of life in the trenches, documenting events as they unfolded in excruciating detail and creating a body of work so vivid that it continues to haunt us one hundred years later.

With First World War Poems from the Front, Paul O’Prey offers an in-depth exploration of the Great War poets, including powerful poems by Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, and Julian Grenfell, as well as two World War I nurses: Vera Brittain and Mary Borden. The poems are accompanied by a brief and accessible introduction and short biographical profiles that set them in context for readers new to the works.

144 pages | 4 3/4 x 7 | © 2014


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Table of Contents


Rupert Brooke
The Dead
The Soldier
I strayed about the deck

Charles Sorley
All the hills and vales along
To Germany
Two Sonnets
When you see millions of the mouthless dead

Robert Graves
A Dead Boche
Two Fusiliers
The Legion
November 11th
The Last Day of Leave (1916)
The Haunted House
Sergeant-Major Money
The Cuirassiers of the Frontier
Recalling War
The Oldest Soldier

Siegfried Sassoon
The Hero
The Rear-Guard
Base Details
The General
Does it Matter?
I stood with the Dead
Every Sang

Mary Borden
The Song of the Mud
No, no! There is some sinister mistake
See how the withered leaves
Come to me quickly and take me away

Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy
His Mate
To Stretcher-Bearers
Old England

Edward Thomas
In Memoriam (Easter, 1915)
This is no case of petty right or wrong
The Cherry Trees
The sun used to shine
The Trumpet
As the team’s head-brass
No one cares less than I
Lights out

David Jones
excerpt from In Parenthesis

Isaac Rosenberg
On Receiving News of the War: Cape Town
Marching – as seen from the left file
The Troop Ship
In the Trenches
Break of Day in the Trenches
August 1914
Louse Hunting
Returning, we hear the larks
Dead Man’s Dump

Vera Brittain
The German Ward
To My Ward-Sister on Night Duty
Epitaph on My Days in Hospital
The Lament of the Demobilised
The Superfluous Woman

Wilfred Owen
Anthem for Doomed Youth
Apologia pro Poemate Meo
Dulce et Decorum Est
Strange Meeting
Mental Cases
The Send-Off
The Parable of the Old Man and the Young
The Sentry
Smile, Smile, Smile

Laurence Binyon
For the Fallen
Fetching the Wounded
excerpt from The Arras Road
excerpt from Wingless Victory
There is Still Splendour
August Afternoon

Edmund Blunden
Festubert, 1916
Rural Economy (1917)
The Zonnebeke Road
Concert Party: Busseboom
Report on Experience
‘Can You Remember?’

May Cannan
Paris, November 11, 1918
Paris Leave

Ivor Gurney
Song (‘Severn Meadows’)
To His Love
De Profundis
La Gorgue
Strange Hells
First Time In
Behind the Line
The Bohemians
The Silent One
The Mangel-Bury
It is Near Toussaints
War Books

Bibliography and Text Sources

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