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Best Famous Soldier Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Soldier poems. This is a select list of the best famous Soldier poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Soldier poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of soldier poems.

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See also: Best Member Poems

by Alfred Lord Tennyson | |

The Charge of the Light Brigade

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 of Death Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!" Was there a man dismayed? Not though the soldier knew Some one had blundered: Their's not to make reply, Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volleyed and thundered; Stormed at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell Rode the six hundred.
Flashed all their sabres bare, Flashed as they turned in air Sabring the gunners there, Charging an army, while All the world wondered: Plunged in the battery-smoke Right through the line they broke; Cossack and Russian Reeled from the sabre-stroke Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not, Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volleyed and thundered; Stormed at with shot and shell, While horse and hero fell, They that had fought so well Came through the jaws of Death Back from the mouth of Hell, All that was left of them, Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred!


by William Cullen Bryant | |

Song of Marions Men

OUR band is few but true and tried  
Our leader frank and bold; 
The British soldier trembles 
When Marion's name is told.
Our fortress is the good greenwood 5 Our tent the cypress-tree; We know the forest round us As seamen know the sea.
We know its walls of thorny vines Its glades of reedy grass 10 Its safe and silent islands Within the dark morass.
Woe to the English soldiery That little dread us near! On them shall light at midnight 15 A strange and sudden fear: When waking to their tents on fire They grasp their arms in vain And they who stand to face us Are beat to earth again; 20 And they who fly in terror deem A mighty host behind And hear the tramp of thousands Upon the hollow wind.
Then sweet the hour that brings release 25 From danger and from toil; We talk the battle over And share the battle's spoil.
The woodland rings with laugh and shout As if a hunt were up 30 And woodland flowers are gathered To crown the soldier's cup.
With merry songs we mock the wind That in the pine-top grieves And slumber long and sweetly 35 On beds of oaken leaves.
Well knows the fair and friendly moon The band that Marion leads¡ª The glitter of their rifles The scampering of their steeds.
40 'T is life to guide the fiery barb Across the moonlit plain; 'T is life to feel the night-wind That lifts his tossing mane.
A moment in the British camp¡ª 45 A moment¡ªand away Back to the pathless forest Before the peep of day.
Grave men there are by broad Santee Grave men with hoary hairs; 50 Their hearts are all with Marion For Marion are their prayers.
And lovely ladies greet our band With kindliest welcoming With smiles like those of summer 55 And tears like those of spring.
For them we wear these trusty arms And lay them down no more Till we have driven the Briton Forever from our shore.
60


by Wole Soyinka | |

Civilian and Soldier

My apparition rose from the fall of lead,
Declared, 'I am a civilian.
' It only served To aggravate your fright.
For how could I Have risen, a being of this world, in that hour Of impartial death! And I thought also: nor is Your quarrel of this world.
You stood still For both eternities, and oh I heard the lesson Of your traing sessions, cautioning - Scorch earth behind you, do not leave A dubious neutral to the rear.
Reiteration Of my civilian quandary, burrowing earth From the lead festival of your more eager friends Worked the worse on your confusion, and when You brought the gun to bear on me, and death Twitched me gently in the eye, your plight And all of you came clear to me.
I hope some day Intent upon my trade of living, to be checked In stride by your apparition in a trench, Signalling, I am a soldier.
No hesitation then But I shall shoot you clean and fair With meat and bread, a gourd of wine A bunch of breasts from either arm, and that Lone question - do you friend, even now, know What it is all about?


More great poems below...

by | |

The Soldier

I climbed the barren mountain,
 And my gaze swept far and wide
For the red-lit eaves of my father's home,
 And I fancied that he sighed:
    My son has gone for a soldier,
     For a soldier night and day;
    But my son is wise, and may yet return,
     When the drums have died away.
I climbed the grass-clad mountain, And my gaze swept far and wide For the rosy lights of a little room, Where I thought my mother sighed: My boy has gone for a soldier, He sleeps not day and night; But my boy is wise, and may yet return, Though the dead lie far from sight.
I climbed the topmost summit, And my gaze swept far and wide For the garden roof where my brother stood, And I fancied that he sighed: My brother serves as a soldier With his comrades night and day; But my brother is wise, and may yet return, Though the dead lie far away.


by Ben Jonson | |

To Pertinax Cob


LXIX.
 — TO PERTINAX COB.

COB, thou nor soldier, thief, nor fencer art,
Yet by thy weapon liv'st! thou hast one good part.


by Paul Laurence Dunbar | |

At the Tavern

 A lilt and a swing, 
And a ditty to sing,
Or ever the night grow old;
The wine is within,
And I'm sure t'were a sin
For a soldier to choose to be cold, my dear,
For a soldier to choose to be cold.
We're right for a spell, But the fever is -- well, No thing to be braved, at least; So bring me the wine; No low fever in mine, For a drink more kind than a priest, my dear, For a drink is more kind than a priest.


by William Vaughn Moody | |

On a Soldier Fallen in the Philippines

 Streets of the roaring town, 
Hush for him, hus, be still! 
He comes, who was stricken down 
Doing the word of our will.
Hush! Let him have his state, Give him his soldier's crown.
The grists of trade can wait Their grinding at the mill, But he cannot wait for his honor, now the trumpet has been blown.
Wreathe pride now for his granite brow, lay love on his breast of stone.
Toll! Let the great bells toll Till the clashing air is dim.
Did we wrong this parted soul? We will make it up to him.
Toll! Let him never guess What work we set him to.
Laurel, laurel, yes; He did waht we bade him do.
Praise, and never a whispered hint but the fight he fought was good; Never a word that the blood on his sword was his country's own heart's-blood.
A flag for the soldier's bier Who dies that his land may live; O, banners, banners here, That he doubt not nor misgive ! That he heed not from the tomb The evil days draw near When the nation, robed in gloom, With its faithless past shall strive.
Let him never dream that his bullet's scream went wide of its island mark, Home to the heart of his darling land where she stumbled and sinned in the dark.


by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge | |

Good Friday in my Heart

 GOOD FRIDAY in my heart! Fear and affright! 
My thoughts are the Disciples when they fled, 
My words the words that priest and soldier said, 
My deed the spear to desecrate the dead.
And day, Thy death therein, is changed to night.
Then Easter in my heart sends up the sun.
My thoughts are Mary, when she turned to see.
My words are Peter, answering, ‘Lov’st thou Me?’ My deeds are all Thine own drawn close to Thee, And night and day, since Thou dost rise, are one.


by John Crowe Ransom | |

Prelude to an Evening

 Do not enforce the tired wolf
Dragging his infected wound homeward
To sit tonight with the warm children
Naming the pretty kings of France.
The images of the invaded mind Being as the monsters in the dreams Of your most brief enchanted headful, Suppose a miracle of confusion: That dreamed and undreamt become each other And mix the night and day of your mind; And it does not matter your twice crying From mouth unbeautied against the pillow To avert the gun of the same old soldier; For cry, cock-crow, or the iron bell Can crack the sleep-sense of outrage, Annihilate phantoms who were nothing.
But now, by our perverse supposal, There is a drift of fog on your mornings; You in your peignoir, dainty at your orange cup, Feel poising round the sunny room Invisible evil, deprived and bold.
All day the clock will metronome Your gallant fear; the needles clicking, The heels detonating the stair's cavern Freshening the water in the blue bowls For the buck berries, with not all your love, You shall he listening for the low wind, The warning sibilance of pines.
You like a waning moon, and I accusing Our too banded Eumenides, While you pronounce Noes wanderingly And smooth the heads of the hungry children.


by Isaac Rosenberg | |

Louse Hunting

 Nudes -- stark and glistening,
Yelling in lurid glee.
Grinning faces And raging limbs Whirl over the floor one fire.
For a shirt verminously busy Yon soldier tore from his throat, with oaths Godhead might shrink at, but not the lice.
And soon the shirt was aflare Over the candle he'd lit while we lay.
Then we all sprang up and stript To hunt the verminous brood.
Soon like a demons' pantomine The place was raging.
See the silhouettes agape, See the glibbering shadows Mixed with the battled arms on the wall.
See gargantuan hooked fingers Pluck in supreme flesh To smutch supreme littleness.
See the merry limbs in hot Highland fling Because some wizard vermin Charmed from the quiet this revel When our ears were half lulled By the dark music Blown from Sleep's trumpet.


by Robert William Service | |

My Future

 "Let's make him a sailor," said Father,
"And he will adventure the sea.
" "A soldier," said Mother, "is rather What I would prefer him to be.
" "A lawyer," said Father, "would please me, For then he could draw up my will.
" "A doctor," said Mother, "would ease me; Maybe he could give me a pill.
" Said Father: "Lt's make him a curate, A Bishop in gaiters to be.
" Said Mother: "I couldn't endure it To have Willie preaching to me.
" Said Father: ""Let him be a poet; So often he's gathering wool.
" Said Mother with temper: "Oh stow it! You know it, a poet's a fool.
" Said Farther: "Your son is a duffer, A stupid and mischievous elf.
" Said Mother, who's rather a huffer: "That's right - he takes after yourself.
" Controlling parental emotion They turned to me, seeking a cue, And sudden conceived the bright notion To ask what I wanted to do.
Said I: "my ambition is modest: A clown in a circus I'd be, And turn somersaults in the sawdust With audience laughing at me.
" .
.
.
Poor parents! they're dead and decaying, But I am a clown as you see; And though in no circus I'm playing, How people are laughing at me!


by Robert William Service | |

Carry On

 It's easy to fight when everything's right,
 And you're mad with the thrill and the glory;
It's easy to cheer when victory's near,
 And wallow in fields that are gory.
It's a different song when everything's wrong, When you're feeling infernally mortal; When it's ten against one, and hope there is none, Buck up, little soldier, and chortle: Carry on! Carry on! There isn't much punch in your blow.
You're glaring and staring and hitting out blind; You're muddy and bloody, but never you mind.
Carry on! Carry on! You haven't the ghost of a show.
It's looking like death, but while you've a breath, Carry on, my son! Carry on! And so in the strife of the battle of life It's easy to fight when you're winning; It's easy to slave, and starve and be brave, When the dawn of success is beginning.
But the man who can meet despair and defeat With a cheer, there's the man of God's choosing; The man who can fight to Heaven's own height Is the man who can fight when he's losing.
Carry on! Carry on! Things never were looming so black.
But show that you haven't a cowardly streak, And though you're unlucky you never are weak.
Carry on! Carry on! Brace up for another attack.
It's looking like hell, but -- you never can tell: Carry on, old man! Carry on! There are some who drift out in the deserts of doubt, And some who in brutishness wallow; There are others, I know, who in piety go Because of a Heaven to follow.
But to labour with zest, and to give of your best, For the sweetness and joy of the giving; To help folks along with a hand and a song; Why, there's the real sunshine of living.
Carry on! Carry on! Fight the good fight and true; Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer; There's big work to do, and that's why you are here.
Carry on! Carry on! Let the world be the better for you; And at last when you die, let this be your cry: Carry on, my soul! Carry on!


by Robert William Service | |

Soldier Boy

 My soldier boy has crossed the sea
 To fight the foeman;
But he'll come back to make of me
 And honest woman.
So I am singing all day long, Despite blood-shedding; For though I know he's done me wrong, We'll end by wedding.
My soldier boy is home again, So bold and scathless; But oh, my heart is numb with pain Because he's faithless.
He's brought with him a French Mam'selle; They plan a marriage; Maybe I'll go - no one will know Of my miscarriage.
My soldier boy has made his choice, She'll hold him to it; I tell myself that I rejoice, May he not rue it.
But oh, that starry month of May, Love-words wild spoken! I stand alone and make no moan .
.
.
My heart is broken.


by Robert William Service | |

Moon Song

 A child saw in the morning skies
The dissipated-looking moon,
And opened wide her big blue eyes,
And cried: "Look, look, my lost balloon!"
And clapped her rosy hands with glee:
"Quick, mother! Bring it back to me.
" A poet in a lilied pond Espied the moon's reflected charms, And ravished by that beauty blonde, Leapt out to clasp her in his arms.
And as he'd never learnt to swim, Poor fool! that was the end of him.
A rustic glimpsed amid the trees The bluff moon caught as in a snare.
"They say it do be made of cheese," Said Giles, "and that a chap bides there.
.
.
.
That Blue Boar ale be strong, I vow -- The lad's a-winkin' at me now.
" Two lovers watched the new moon hold The old moon in her bright embrace.
Said she: "There's mother, pale and old, And drawing near her resting place.
" Said he: "Be mine, and with me wed," Moon-high she stared .
.
.
she shook her head.
A soldier saw with dying eyes The bleared moon like a ball of blood, And thought of how in other skies, So pearly bright on leaf and bud Like peace its soft white beams had lain; Like Peace! .
.
.
He closed his eyes again.
Child, lover, poet, soldier, clown, Ah yes, old Moon, what things you've seen! I marvel now, as you look down, How can your face be so serene? And tranquil still you'll make your round, Old Moon, when we are underground.


by Robert William Service | |

Shakespeare And Cervantes

 Obit 23rd April 1616

Is it not strange that on this common date,
Two titans of their age, aye of all Time,
Together should renounce this mortal state,
And rise like gods, unsullied and sublime?
Should mutually render up the ghost,
And hand n hand join Jove's celestial host?

What wondrous welcome from the scribes on high!
Homer and Virgil would be waiting there;
Plato and Aristotle standing nigh;
Petrarch and Dante greet the peerless pair:
And as in harmony they make their bow,
Horace might quip: "Great timing, you'll allow.
" Imagine this transcendant team arrive At some hilarious banquet of the gods! Their nations battled when they were alive, And they were bitter foes - but what's the odd? Actor and soldier, happy hand in hand, By death close-linked, like loving brothers stand.
But how diverse! Our Will had gold and gear, Chattels and land, the starshine of success; The bleak Castilian fought with casque and spear, Passing his life in prisons - more or less.
The Bard of Avon was accounted rich; Cervantes often bedded in a ditch.
Yet when I slough this flesh, if I could meet By sweet, fantastic fate one of these two, In languorous Elysian retreat, Which would I choose? Fair reader, which would you? Well, though our William more divinely wrote, By gad! the lousy Spaniard has my vote.


by Robert William Service | |

Ernie Pyle

 I wish I had a simple style
 In writing verse,
As in his prose had Ernie Pyle,
 So true and terse;
Springing so forthright from the heart
 With guileless art.
I wish I could put back a dram As Ernie could; I wish that I could cuss and damn As soldier should; And fain with every verse would I Ernie outvie.
Alas! I cannot claim his high Humanity; Nor emulate his pungent, dry Profanity; Nor share his love of common folk Who bear life's yolk.
Oh Ernie, who on earth I knew In war and wine, Though frail of fame, in soul how you Were pure and fine! I'm proud that once when we were plastered You called me 'bastard.
'


by Robert William Service | |

My Job

 I've got a little job on 'and, the time is drawin' nigh;
 At seven by the Captain's watch I'm due to go and do it;
I wants to 'ave it nice and neat, and pleasin' to the eye,
 And I 'opes the God of soldier men will see me safely through it.
Because, you see, it's somethin' I 'ave never done before; And till you 'as experience noo stunts is always tryin'; The chances is I'll never 'ave to do it any more: At seven by the Captain's watch my little job is .
.
.
dyin'.
I've got a little note to write; I'd best begin it now.
I ain't much good at writin' notes, but here goes: "Dearest Mother, I've been in many 'ot old `do's'; I've scraped through safe some'ow, But now I'm on the very point of tacklin' another.
A little job of hand-grenades; they called for volunteers.
They picked me out; I'm proud of it; it seems a trifle dicky.
If anythin' should 'appen, well, there ain't no call for tears, And so .
.
.
I 'opes this finds you well.
-- Your werry lovin' Micky.
" I've got a little score to settle wiv them swine out there.
I've 'ad so many of me pals done in it's quite upset me.
I've seen so much of bloody death I don't seem for to care, If I can only even up, how soon the blighters get me.
I'm sorry for them perishers that corpses in a bed; I only 'opes mine's short and sweet, no linger-longer-lyin'; I've made a mess of life, but now I'll try to make instead .
.
.
It's seven sharp.
Good-bye, old pals! .
.
.
a decent job in dyin'.


by Robert William Service | |

Warsaw

 I was in Warsaw when the first bomb fell;
I was in Warsaw when the Terror came -
Havoc and horror, famine, fear and flame,
Blasting from loveliness a living hell.
Barring the station towered a sentinel; Trainward I battled, blind escape my aim.
ENGLAND! I cried.
He kindled at the name: With lion-leap he haled me.
.
.
.
All was well.
ENGLAND! they cried for aid, and cried in vain.
Vain was their valour, emptily they cried.
Bleeding, they saw their Cry crucified.
.
.
.
O splendid soldier, by the last lone train, To-day would you flame forth to fray me place? Or - would you curse and spit into my face? September, 1939


by Robert William Service | |

Funk

 When your marrer bone seems 'oller,
And you're glad you ain't no taller,
 And you're all a-shakin' like you 'ad the chills;
When your skin creeps like a pullet's,
And you're duckin' all the bullets,
 And you're green as gorgonzola round the gills;
When your legs seem made of jelly,
And you're squeamish in the belly,
 And you want to turn about and do a bunk:
For Gawd's sake, kid, don't show it!
Don't let your mateys know it --
 You're just sufferin' from funk, funk, funk.
Of course there's no denyin' That it ain't so easy tryin' To grin and grip your rifle by the butt, When the 'ole world rips asunder, And you sees yer pal go under, As a bunch of shrapnel sprays 'im on the nut; I admit it's 'ard contrivin' When you 'ears the shells arrivin', To discover you're a bloomin' bit o' spunk; But, my lad, you've got to do it, And your God will see you through it, For wot 'E 'ates is funk, funk, funk.
So stand up, son; look gritty, And just 'um a lively ditty, And only be afraid to be afraid; Just 'old yer rifle steady, And 'ave yer bay'nit ready, For that's the way good soldier-men is made.
And if you 'as to die, As it sometimes 'appens, why, Far better die a 'ero than a skunk; A-doin' of yer bit, And so -- to 'ell with it, There ain't no bloomin' funk, funk, funk.


by Robert William Service | |

Orphan School

 Full fifty merry maids I heard
 One summer morn a-singing;
And each was like a joyous bird
 With spring-clear not a-ringing.
It was an old-time soldier song That held their happy voices: Oh how it's good to swing along When youth rejoices! Then lo! I dreamed long years had gone, They passed again ungladly.
Their backs were bent, their cheeks were wan, Their eyes were staring sadly.
Their ranks were thinned by full a score From death's remorseless reaping Their steps were slow, they sang no more,-- Nay, some were weeping.
Dark dream! I saw my maids today Singing so innocently; Their eyes with happiness were gay, They looked at me so gently.
Thought I: Be merry in your youth With hearts unrueing: Thank God you do not know the truth Of Life's Undoing!


by Robert William Service | |

Florrie

 Because I was a wonton wild
 And welcomed many a lover,
Who is the father of my child
 I wish I could discover.
For though I know it is not right In tender arms to tarry, A barmaid has to be polite To Tom and Dick and Harry.
My truest love was Poacher Jim: I wish my babe was his'n.
Yet I can't father it on him Because he was in prison.
As uniforms I like, I had A soldier and a sailor; Then there was Pete the painter lad, And Timothy the tailor.
Though virtue hurt you vice ain't nice; They say to err is human; Alas! one pays a bitter price, It's hell to be a woman.
Oh dear! Why was I born a lass Who hated to say: No, sir.
I'd better in my sorry pass Blame Mister Simms, the grocer.


by Robert William Service | |

The Man From Cooks

 "You're bloody right - I was a Red,"
The Man from Cook's morosely said.
And if our chaps had won the War Today I'd be the Governor Of all Madrid, and rule with pride, Instead of just a lousy guide.
"For I could talk in Councils high To draw down angels from the sky.
They put me seven years in gaol, - You see how I am prison-pale .
.
.
Death sentence! Each dawn I thought They'd drag me out and have me shot.
"Maybe far better if they had: Suspense like that can make one mad.
Yet here I am serene and sane, And at your service to explain That gory battlefield out there, The Cité Universitaire.
"See! Where the Marzanillo flows, The women used to wash our cloths; And often, even in its flood, It would be purpled by our blood.
Contemptuous of shot and shell Our women sang and - fought like hell.
"Deep trenches there ran up and down, And linked us with the sightless town; And every morn and every night We sallied savagely to fight .
.
.
By yon ravine in broken clad I shot and killed a soldier lad.
"Such boys they were: methinks that one Looked to me like my only son.
He might have been; they told my wife Before Madrid he lost his life.
Sweet Mary! Oh if I but knew It was not my own son I slew.
.
.
.
" So spoke that man with eye remote And stains of gravy on his coat; I offered him a cigarette, And as he sighed with vain regret, Said he: "Don't change your dollars - wait: I'll get you twice the market rate.
"


by Gerard Manley Hopkins | |

The Soldier

 Yes.
Why do we ?ll, seeing of a soldier, bless him? bless Our redcoats, our tars? Both these being, the greater part, But frail clay, nay but foul clay.
Here it is: the heart, Since, proud, it calls the calling manly, gives a guess That, hopes that, makesbelieve, the men must be no less; It fancies, feigns, deems, dears the artist after his art; And fain will find as sterling all as all is smart, And scarlet wear the spirit of w?r th?re express.
Mark Christ our King.
He knows war, served this soldiering through; He of all can handle a rope best.
There he bides in bliss Now, and s?eing somewh?re some m?n do all that man can do, For love he leans forth, needs his neck must fall on, kiss, And cry 'O Christ-done deed! So God-made-flesh does too: Were I come o'er again' cries Christ 'it should be this'.


by A E Housman | |

The Day of Battle

 "Far I hear the bugle blow 
To call me where I would not go, 
And the guns begin the song, 
'Soldier, fly or stay for long.
' "Comrade, if to turn and fly Made a soldier never die, Fly I would, for who would not? 'Tis sure no pleasure to be shot.
"But since the man that runs away Lives to die another day, And cowards' funerals, when they come, Are not wept so well at home, "Therefore, though the best is bad, Stand and do the best, my lad; Stand and fight and see your slain, And take the bullet in your brain.
"


by A E Housman | |

The Street Sounds to the Soldiers Tread

 The street sounds to the soldiers' tread, 
And out we troop to see: 
A single redcoat turns his head, 
He turns and looks at me.
My man, from sky to sky's so far, We never crossed before; Such leagues apart the world's ends are, We're like to meet no more; What thoughts at heart have you and I We cannot stop to tell; But dead or living, drunk or dry, Soldier, I wish you well.