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Famous War Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous War poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous war poems. These examples illustrate what a famous war poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Whitman, Walt
...o me. 

Fear grace—Fear elegance, civilization, delicatesse, 
Fear the mellow sweet, the sucking of honey-juice; 
Beware the advancing mortal ripening of nature, 
Beware what precedes the decay of the ruggedness of states and men.

Ages, precedents, have long been accumulating undirected materials, 
America brings builders, and brings its own styles. 

The immortal poets of Asia and Europe have done their work, and pass’d to other
 spheres, 
A work remains, the wo...Read More



by Ginsberg, Allen
...ed through universities with radiant cool eyes 
 hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy 
 among the scholars of war, 
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & 
 publishing obscene odes on the windows of the 
 skull, 
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn- 
 ing their money in wastebaskets and listening 
 to the Terror through the wall, 
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through 
 Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York, 
who ate fi...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...s the snow,
And soon yon blanched fields will bloom again
With nodding cowslips for some lad to mow,
For with the first warm kisses of the rain
The winter's icy sorrow breaks to tears,
And the brown thrushes mate, and with bright eyes the rabbit peers

From the dark warren where the fir-cones lie,
And treads one snowdrop under foot, and runs
Over the mossy knoll, and blackbirds fly
Across our path at evening, and the suns
Stay longer with us; ah! how good to see
Grass-girdled...Read More

by Keats, John
...beautiful than Beauty's self.
There was a listening fear in her regard,
As if calamity had but begun;
As if the vanward clouds of evil days
Had spent their malice, and the sullen rear
Was with its stored thunder labouring up.
One hand she press'd upon that aching spot
Where beats the human heart, as if just there,
Though an immortal, she felt cruel pain:
The other upon Saturn's bended neck
She laid, and to the level of his ear
Leaning with parted lips, some words she...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...ch inquiry grew, 
His brow fell darker, and his words more few. 

VII. 

Not unrejoiced to see him once again, 
Warm was his welcome to the haunts of men; 
Born of high lineage, link'd in high command, 
He mingled with the magnates of his land; 
Join'd the carousals of the great and gay, 
And saw them smile or sigh their hours away; 
But still he only saw, and did not share 
The common pleasure or the general care; 
He did not follow what they all pursued, 
With hope ...Read More



by Angelou, Maya
...waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.
Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I
And the tree and stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.
The river sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing river and the wise rock.
So say...Read More

by Wilde, Oscar
...st thou stand,
Like Proserpine, with poppy-laden head,
Guarding the holy ashes of the dead.
For though thy brood of warrior sons hath ceased,
Thy noble dead are with thee! - they at least
Are faithful to thine honour:- guard them well,
O childless city! for a mighty spell,
To wake men's hearts to dreams of things sublime,
Are the lone tombs where rest the Great of Time.


III.


Yon lonely pillar, rising on the plain,
Marks where the bravest knight of France was s...Read More

by Frost, Robert
...e hours of sleep,
Meserve belittled in the great skin coat he wore.

Meserve was first to speak. He pointed backward
Over his shoulder with his pipe-stem, saying,
“You can just see it glancing off the roof
Making a great scroll upward toward the sky,
Long enough for recording all our names on.—
I think I’ll just call up my wife and tell her
I’m here—so far—and starting on again.
I’ll call her softly so that if she’s wise
And gone to sleep, she needn’t wake to ...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...d which is
 ahead? 

4
Trippers and askers surround me; 
People I meet—the effect upon me of my early life, or the ward and city I
 live in, or the nation, 
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues, 
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love, 
The sickness of one of my folks, or of myself, or ill-doing, or loss or lack of
 money, or depressions or exaltations...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...ets scream aloud
And the dense arrows drive.

Lady, by one light only
We look from Alfred's eyes,
We know he saw athwart the wreck
The sign that hangs about your neck,
Where One more than Melchizedek
Is dead and never dies.

Therefore I bring these rhymes to you
Who brought the cross to me,
Since on you flaming without flaw
I saw the sign that Guthrum saw
When he let break his ships of awe,
And laid peace on the sea.

Do you remember when we went
Under a dragon mo...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...Infancy,
Daughters and sons of Beauty,—but behold!
Upon her face there was a tint of grief,
The settled shadow of an inward strife,
And an unquiet drooping of the eye,
As if its lid were charged with unshed tears.
What could her grief be?—she had all she loved,
And he who had so loved her was not there
To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish,
Or ill-repressed affliction, her pure thoughts.
What could her grief be?—she had loved him not,
Nor given him cause to deem hi...Read More

by Bridges, Robert Seymour
...lds and meadows parch,
And driven dust and withering snowflake fly;
Already in glimpses of the tarnish'd sky
The sun is warm and beckons to the larch,
And where the covert hazels interarch
Their tassell'd twigs, fair beds of primrose lie. 
Beneath the crisp and wintry carpet hid
A million buds but stay their blossoming;
And trustful birds have built their nests amid
The shuddering boughs, and only wait to sing
Till one soft shower from the south shall bid,
And hither temp...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...e 
As in a glory, and all the knights arose, 
And staring each at other like dumb men 
Stood, till I found a voice and sware a vow. 

`I sware a vow before them all, that I, 
Because I had not seen the Grail, would ride 
A twelvemonth and a day in quest of it, 
Until I found and saw it, as the nun 
My sister saw it; and Galahad sware the vow, 
And good Sir Bors, our Lancelot's cousin, sware, 
And Lancelot sware, and many among the knights, 
And Gawain sware, and louder th...Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
...s Duke, of whom I make mentioun,
When he was come almost unto the town,
In all his weal, and in his moste pride,
He was ware, as he cast his eye aside,
Where that there kneeled in the highe way
A company of ladies, tway and tway,
Each after other, clad in clothes black:
But such a cry and such a woe they make,
That in this world n'is creature living,
That hearde such another waimenting* *lamenting 
And of this crying would they never stenten*, *desist
Till they the reines ...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...Mid rustling leaves and fountains murmuring,
        Still must thy sweeter sounds their silence keep,
     Nor bid a warrior smile, nor teach a maid to weep?

     Not thus, in ancient days of Caledon, 10
        Was thy voice mute amid the festal crowd,
     When lay of hopeless love, or glory won,
        Aroused the fearful or subdued the proud.
     At each according pause was heard aloud
        Thine ardent symphony sublime and high!
     Fair dames and crest...Read More

by Thomson, James
...and sunny Calms;
When all the golden Hours are on the Wing, 
Attending thy Retreat, and round thy Wain,
Slow-rolling, onward to the Southern Sky.

BEHOLD! the well-pois'd Hornet, hovering, hangs,
With quivering Pinions, in the genial Blaze;
Flys off, in airy Circles: then returns, 
And hums, and dances to the beating Ray.
Nor shall the Man, that, musing, walks alone,
And, heedless, strays within his radiant Lists,
Go unchastis'd away. -- Sometimes, a Fleece
Of Clo...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe
...one of night, now they were laid asleep,
Stretched my faint limbs beneath the hoary stem
Which an old chestnut flung athwart the steep
Of a green Apennine: before me fled
The night; behind me rose the day; the Deep
Was at my feet, & Heaven above my head
When a strange trance over my fancy grew
Which was not slumber, for the shade it spread
Was so transparent that the scene came through
As clear as when a veil of light is drawn
O'er evening hills they glimmer; and I knew
That ...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...e dare he call the attention of the laws to the publications of others, be they what they may? 

I say nothing of the cowardice of such a proceeding, its meanness speaks for itself; but I wish to touch upon the motive, which is neither more nor less than that Mr. S. has been laughed at a little in some recent publications, as he was of yore in the 'Anti-jacobin,' by his present patrons. Hence all this 'skimble-scamble stuff' about 'Satanic,' and so forth. Howe...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer
...bon across his breast—
That blue as deep as the southern sea,
Bluer than skies can ever be—
The Countess of Salisbury—Edward the Third—
No damn merit— the Duke— I heard
My own voice saying; 'Upon my word,
The garter!' and clapped my hands like a child.

Some one beside me turned and smiled,
And looking down at me said: "I fancy,
You're Bertie's Australian cousin Nancy.
He toId me to tell you that he'd be late 
At the Foreign Office and not to wait 
Supper for him, but...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna
...e love's memory, You are heavy!
In your smoke I sing and burn,
And the rest -- is only fire
To keep the chilled soul warm.

To keep warm the sated body,
They need my tears for this
Did I for this sing your song, God?
Did I take part of love for this?

Let me drink of such a poison,
That I would be deaf and dumb,
And my unglorious glory
Wash away to the final crumb.



x x x

The blue lacquer dims of heaven,
And the song is better heard.
It's...Read More

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