Favorite military poem


Active member
I didn't wanna add this in as a quote, cause well, its not a quote

Victory's call
"Victory smiles for those who see,
There are heroes near - stand tall.
She watches those who would be free
There are heroes near - stand tall.
Some will fight for victory's grace
There are heroes near - stand tall.
Some will gaze on victory's face
There are heroes near - stand tall.
Though tired and drawn they struggle through
There are heroes near - stand tall.
They stood the test and victory knew,
There are heroes near - stand tall.
And though they change we still can see
There are heroes near - stand tall
That these define our victory
There are heroes Here - stand tall.
~Col. Robert R. Donoho
CORPS Warfighter
'Soldier' by Brigadier General C. T. Lanham

The stars wing down the western steep,
And soon the east will burn with day,
And we shall struggle up from sleep
And sling our packs and march away.

In this brief hour before the dawn
Has struck our bivouac with flame
I think of men whose brows have borne
The iron wreath of deadly fame.

I see the fatal phalanx creep,
Like death across the world and back,
With eyes that only strive to keep
Bucephalus' immortal track.

I see the legion wheel through Gaul,
The sword and flame on hearth and home,
And all the men who had to fall
That Caesar might be first in Rome.

I see the horde of Genghis Khan
Spread outward like the dawn of day
To trample golden Khorassan
And thunder over fair Cathay.

I see the grizzled grenadier,
The dark dragoon, the gay hussar,
Whose shoulders bore for many a year
Their little emperor's blazing star.

I see these things, still am I slave
When banners flaunt and bugles blow,
Content to fill a soldier's grave
For reasons I shall never know.
"Flanders Fields" John McRae

Memorized it a while ago, and then had to correct everyone when the new CDN $10 bills came out. Everyone thought it was a mistake because they had "In Flanders fields the poppies blow" and they all seemed to think it was grow.
lol, i know how that is, i had to memorize quite a few poems.... and Turn Turn Turn, and I heard the bells on Christmas day.... funky teacher i tell you
Hm, I have completely forgot to post here... :?

Ok here we go:

"You can't describe the moral lift,
when in the fight your spirits weary
hears above the hostile fire,
Your own artillery.
Shells score the air like wavy hair
from a forward battery.
As regimental cannon crack
While from positions further back,
in bitter sweet song overhead
crashing discordantly
Division's pounding joins the attack;
Mother like she belches shell;
Glorious it flies, and well,
As, with a hissing screaming squall,
A roaring furnace, giving all,
she sears a path for the infantry...."
- Aleksandr Tvardovskiy, from the poem "Vasily Tyorkin" 1943.

Two other good poems are "High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee Jr. who was i the RCAF in WW2, which is directly military related and I think another appropriate one is "Nothing Gold can Stay" by Robert Frost.

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of eart
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth.
Of sun-split clouds-and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of-wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wide along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . .

Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew-
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
-John Gillespie Magee Jr
RCAF 1922-1941

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold'
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower,
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief.
So dawn goes down today.
Nothing gold can stay
-Robert Frost

Really appropriate for anyone who is gone too quickly.

Our nations soldiers are dying
The families can't stop crying
There is only one small comfort left,
Its the American flag still boldly flying

I'm tired of this war
It causes so much pain
I support our soldiers
but this is driving me insame

Have I lost sight of the goal
Or am I just confused
I'm tired of politicians fighting
Leaving war supporters hurt and abused.

Why can't we all get along?
We're trying to do what is right
We are supposed to be united
So why must our leaders fight?

Our nations soldiers are dying
The families can't stop crying
There is only one small comfort left,
Its the American flag still boldly flying

When can our heroes come home
Although they will stay if they must
But they are ready to see their families
Ready to readjust

Fittin in at home will be hard
That they understand
But the Middle East grows old quickly
Anything's better then this wretched land

There in the sand is a stain of blood
He was soon to be an "old man"
His wife will find out any day
His baby boy will never understand

I have another i just gotta find it
It is the Soldier,
not the reporter who has given us freedom of press

It is the Soldier,
not the poet who has given us freedom of speech

It is the Soldier,
not the campus organizer who gives us freedom to demonstrate

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
who serves beneath the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Father Dennis Edward O'Brien
(or Stephen Ambrose haha)

Not quite a military poem, but I like it for some reason:

Redneck said:
Father Dennis Edward O'Brien
(or Stephen Ambrose haha)

Or: Charles M. Province ..... :wink:
(Yes, I'm allowed to post here... 8) )
The young Marine was weary
And he sought a little rest
With his helmet for a pillow
And his rifle on his chest.
He has seen the gunships fire.
He had heard the cannons roar.
He had seen the Navy's power
As he made his way ashore.
Then he thought about his rifle
And he found it rather small,
With the gunships and the cannons
It was nothing much at all.

The efforts of a rifleman
Meant little, it would seem.
Then, as he slipped to slumber,
He dreamed himself a dream.
The man who stood beside him
Held a musket in his hand
And close around his neck he wore
A heavy leather band.

“When I was on Old Ironsides”
The apparition said
“There were cannonballs and cutlasses
Wherever danger led.
There were pistols too, and daggers
At every fighter's side
When the ships would come together
On the rolling, heaving, tide.
But when it came to boarding,
With the battle fury hot
It was rifles, always rifles
That made the telling shot.”

The apparition faded
And standing in its place
Beneath a shallow helmet
He saw another face.

“When we were in the trenches
In the Wood they call Marine
There were mortars, tanks, and cannons,
More than I had ever seen.
But when the final charge was made
To push the Germans back
It was rifles, always rifles
At the point of the attack.”

The face changed only slightly
And the helmet stayed the same
But the island that he spoke of
Had a more familiar name.

“They hit us very early
On the day the war begun.
On the wings of all their bombers
We could see the Rising Sun.
Our pilots and our gunners
Who fought and fell at Wake
Wrote a story full of glory
That time can never shake.
But when the enemy drew near
To make his final reach
It was rifles, always rifles
That met him on the beach.”

There next appeared a shadow
In a swirl of stinging snow
And it breathed a fierce defiance
And its eyes were all aglow.

“In 'Fifty at the Chosin
When the big guns couldn't talk
And the First Marine Division
Took a fighting, freezing walk,
When all the world, except the Corps
Had counted us as gone
It was rifles, always rifles
That let us carry on.”

The scene was changed to summer
And the face was hard and lean
And the tired eyes were fired
With the light that says “Marine”.

“At Khe Sahn when they shelled us
We were wrapped in rolling smoke
And the thought of our survival
Was a grim and ghastly joke.
But when the waves came swarming in
To finish the assault
It was rifles, always rifles
That called the final halt.”

There next appeared a general
As solid as a tank
With three stars on his collar
To signify his rank.
His stature and demeanor
Were the military type
And in his hand he carried
A stubby little pipe.
His jaw was squarely chiseled
His eyes were clear and keen
And his bearing left no question.
He was all Marine's Marine.

“The message they're conveying”
The burly General said
“Is that through our troubled history
The rifles always led.
We've had cannons, tanks, and mortars
We've had weapons by the score,
We've had battleships and fighter planes
To complement the Corps.
We've a most impressive arsenal.
That's obviously true,
But the final thrust for victory
Has always been with you.
It was rifles, always rifles
When the Corps was sorely pressed
And the rifle that you carry
Must meet the final test.
So sling that rifle proudly,
For everything we do
With mortars, tanks, and cannons
Is just an aid to you.”

The young Marine awakened
And put the dream aside,
Though now he clutched his rifle
With a certain touch of pride.
And then he chanced to notice
That lying near his hand
Was a stubby little pipe
. And a heavy leather band.

©Robert A. Gannon
I love In Flanders Field by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

The best part of all is that it is a poem by the dead but it is not a hopeless plea for mercy, its a cry for his brethren to fight on and defeat the enemy. Thats the same reason I love The Charge of the Light Brigade

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.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
its unusual..but i was so facinated by it when it was quoted during the movie "Breaker Morant" British-Boer Conflict

by Harry ("Breaker") Morant

In prison cell I sadly sit,
A d__d crest-fallen chappie!
And own to you I feel a bit-
A little bit - unhappy!

It really ain't the place nor time
To reel off rhyming diction -
But yet we'll write a final rhyme
Whilst waiting cru-ci-fixion!

No matter what "end" they decide -
Quick-lime or "b'iling ile," sir?
We'll do our best when crucified
To finish off in style, sir!

But we bequeath a parting tip
For sound advice of such men,
Who come across in transport ship
To polish off the Dutchmen!

If you encounter any Boers
You really must not loot 'em!
And if you wish to leave these shores,
For pity's sake, DON'T SHOOT 'EM!!

And if you'd earn a D.S.O.,
Why every British sinner
Should know the proper way to go

Let's toss a bumper down our throat, -
Before we pass to Heaven,
And toast: "The trim-set petticoat
We leave behind in Devon."

At its end the manuscript is described -
The Last Rhyme and Testament of Tony Lumpkin -

First published in The Bulletin, 19 April 1902.
Dulce et Decorum est

I think my favorite might be:

Wilfred Owen

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 disappointed shells 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 floundering 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.
William Shakespeare
Henry V - Act IV, scene iii, 35

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
another poem


You boasted a wall of granite strength,
which nothing on earth could take,
the skill you learned in forty years,
you defied us blokes to break.

Four thousand men from 'southern seas'
in war but infants yet,
they crept grey-eyed from a sunken road,
and thru your barbed wire swept.

no guns to aid, no barrage long
to sweep the wire away,
but a headlong charge of a thousand yards
and the blues they paved the way.

the first line thru, the second held,
they fought as strong men do,
'hindenburgs line' with its vaunted strength
was smashed by an ANZAC crew.

no bombs to throw, no guns to speak
nothing but lives to sell,
the 'dark blues' like a quivering wave,
fought thru this eternal hell.

officers this way, the men go there!
the hun O.C. called out
but the men hung back as men will do,
they broke and a few got out.

there's a tale that is told in history,
its large on the scroll of fame,
of a charge they made in the crimea-
'Balaclava' is the name.

but the charge we know and the charge wev'e seen
never from our minds will fade,
god speed the day we avenge those boys,
who fell with the blue brigade

by Edmund sambell 14th battalion AIF

ps the 13,14,15,16th battalions were in the 4th australian brigade which had a blue color patch hence the "blue brigade".
bullecourt cost 10,000 men, with the blue brigade losing 80% of there men , the attack was put in without artillery support of any kind they relied on tanks, it was a disaster.