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Best World War I Poems | Poetry

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The Best World War I Poems

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Courage of Youth, Battle of Ypres, Flanders Field

Courage of Youth, Battle of Ypres, Flanders Field
(A Tribute)

Tough as nails young man with a red right hand
red-fire and whiskey ran in his blood.
Courageous seed of vast and cold hard land
quick temper, power of a surging flood.
Seeker of life, its promised mysteries
rash gambler with all he would ever own.
Born on ship in high wind swept, roaring seas
toughest warrior his town had ever grown.

Met his fate by volley of red-hot lead
buried on ground scared and battle blasted.
Aye boys, fodder that machine guns were fed
fools marching to death, long as it lasted.

Now flowers cover up and Time denies
scenes of battle torn soil and blood-red skies.

R.J. Lindley
April 23rd, 1975

Tribute to Courage of Youth-- Second Battle of Ypres, April 22nd 1915 .

Note- added - 8-26-2017

The name Flanders Fields is particularly associated with battles that took place in the Ypres Salient, including the Second Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Passchendaele. For most of the war, the front line ran continuously from south of Zeebrugge on the Belgian coast, across Flanders Fields into the centre of Northern France before moving eastwards — and it was known as the Western Front.

The phrase originates from a poem titled In Flanders Fields by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, inspired by his service during the Second Battle of Ypres. The fields were not maintained for years before they were made into a memorial. Today Flanders Fields is home to thousands of poppies.


Found this while rummaging through some of my old poems. Decided not to edit it. Leave it as it was composed over 42 years ago..
Added the note for those not familiar with that battle and its horrific carnage, primarily from the insanity of large bodies of troops marching into direct machine gun fire.

Copyright © Robert Lindley | Year Posted 2017

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A Thing of Beauty


A thing of beauty on her wrist
was confiscated by a nurse
who looked for items soldiers missed
in places (and by means) much worse.

They branded her inside the camp,
a thing of beauty on her wrist
replaced by Hitler's horrid stamp,
a stinging band below her fist.

With teeming glee, Frau nurse had hissed,
"Thank me that you won't see the baths"
A thing of beauty on HER wrist
the gleaming fee of psychopaths

Now, she who bears the mark of war
lives free and wears her scar not with
remorse. It's more, at eighty-four,
a thing of beauty on her wrist...


Copyright © Lycia Harding | Year Posted 2015

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Little Toy Soldiers

Little Toy Soldiers going off to war
None will ever live to  see age twenty four
None of them even  know what they're fighting for
Little Toy Soldiers going off to war

The world has always been this way
With Emperors and Kings
Fighting with toy soldiers
And the glory that it brings

Land, beliefs, religion
The basis of the war
fought by young toy soldiers
Who all die by the score

Time has taught us nothing
But, it's changed the way we fight
War is a full day job
Now that it is fought at night

The boards of little armies
Are now shown up on the screen
With all the little soldiers
Lit in different shades of green

They used to be all metal
Painted up in nice bright shades
With a General on horseback
Leading all his smart brigades

Then, the men were plastic
glued to bits of wood
Behaving as a unit
Just like a soldier should

Now, the war is different
They're up there in different hues
You can watch them fight in real time
Just like on the nightly news

The only thing remaining
The thing that's stayed the same
Is that nobody in power
Know the Little Soldiers names

Little Toy Soldiers going off to war
None will ever live to  see age twenty four
None of them even  know what they're fighting for
Little Toy Soldiers going off to war

April 29 2018

Copyright © roger turner | Year Posted 2018

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The symbol of remembrance is the red poppy
When I look upon it, this is what I see,
I see courage, sacrifice and extreme bravery
See thousands enlisting to defend their country.

I see other nationalities, every colour and creed
Who came to help England in her hour of need
I see water filled trenches with deep mud and rain
I see flashes of gunfire and hear the wounded in pain.

I see and hear the big guns that sound like thunder
I see a Europe at war slowly being torn asunder
I see the deadly yellow clouds of dense mustard gas
Hear the cries of those poor souls breathing their last.

I see the battles that were won and some that were lost
That eventually brought victory that came at a great cost
I see the graves of the fallen who gave us that victory
Remembering the sacrifice they made for their country.

I feel the pain of the mothers who gave us their sons
At wars end feel the peace when they silenced the guns
We mourn all those that died and for them we must pray
But war is not the answer we must seek a better way.

When you wear your poppy always do so with pride
Honour two minutes silence for the brave fallen who died.
So the next time that you look upon that little red poppy
Just pause for a moment and tell me what you see.

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2018

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war horse


A strong gale cuts its path across the snow laden mountain tops,
light and tough the timor, thoroughbred mix, leads his mob at a trot.
A day spend grazing the valley below they now ascend the range above,
his brumbys follow out of awe and fear not with any love.
Echoing through the gullies is the thunderous clap of a stock whip,
in pursuit of the mob the mountain horseman cut a mean pace at a clip.
Coming up on the brumbys, surrounded them their lariat ropes are let loose,
the stallion is caught for the first time in his life his neck feels the noose.

In 1897 born to tough stock, I think Steve was his name,
His family raised cattle by Corryong of Snowy River fame.
Riding before he could walk, in the saddle he would ply his trade.
Catching brumbys on Kosciuszko's slopes for a little money to be made.
He made the high plains and steep valleys his primary domain,
believed that this was his home, in the hills he would ever remain.
Word reached his ears of the great war in Europe from a close friend.
with fear of threat to king and country, to enlist his mind would bend.

The noble thoroughbred steed, king of his country was finally tamed.
Saddled and bridled, freedom lost, and now he was named.
Garnished with weapons of war to a new mob he was placed,
rigorously put through his training in readiness for battle to be faced.
Somehow he sensed the young man on his back was of similar ilk,
rode low in the saddle, moved with ease, yes they drank the same milk.
A bond was formed, a friendship even, between man and his stallion,
Although both small they rode tall as though kings of the battalion. 

Unloading in Palestine the hot sandy desert now their new home,
a far cry from the lofty peaks and steep valleys they both would roam.
This tough little man and horse to new environs would quickly aclime,
strutting across the dunes, a fine stance cut and looking sublime.
The bugle calls out a mighty charge on Beersheba they began to lay,
horse flaring his nostrils , galloping wildly, into battle making their way.
Flying over the trenches the young man with his bayonette swinging true,
horse compensating expertly as the enemy lines are burst through.

In the heat of the battle cannon fire starts to rupture the ears,
the young man and his horse are finally realising their fears.
A solitary rifle round pulls young Steve from the saddle of his panting steed,
the horse pulls up fast, spinning around, recognising the riders need.
A mortar fatally reaching its mark, puts the poor brumby to the ground,
man and horse mortally wounded, dying without making much of a sound.
In the hot sandy desert final memories flood through their whole being,
and long lonely valleys with snow covered peaks, the last thing they were seeing.

Copyright © old man emu | Year Posted 2016

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Where White Crosses Grow

Rows and rows and rows of white crosses,
Like sentinels -stone-fixed to the ground.
The wind like a shroud wraps around them,
Enshrining each space where they're found.

Stone guardians stand at attention,
Into the distance -row after row.
O' mourn those hallowed internments,
Where our heroes are resting below.

Rows and rows and rows of white crosses,
With their numbers increasing with years.
And graves that are drenched by the weeping,
Will never run dry of our tears.

Now the soil is the dead's lonely blanket,
Below - and everlasting - at rest.
Those keepers -yes -all those white crosses,
Announcing -'Here lie the Best of the Best.'

Rows and rows and rows of white crosses,
All those warriors were yields of our lives.
And the harvest of what all wars cost us,
Are plowed under and nothing survives.

There is green lawn laid like a carpet,
That covers our heroes repose.
Outstreched are the arms of the crosses,
In a garden where nothing else grows.

Copyright © Margaret Wade | Year Posted 2017

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    I am the Unknown Soldier, i stand guard here on my own.
    For those who fought for freedom, but never returned home.
    They lie where they had fallen, in everlasting  peace.
    Long since ago their comrades, who prayed by unmarked graves
    Did speak in truth of valour, displayed on battle fields.
    And i, in silence listened, bore witness to their deeds.
    Now they speak with reverence, of human sacrifice.
    And poppies tell their story, of days when reason died.
    Come the hour when bugles play, The Last Post, rest in peace.
    It is my solemn duty, to bear each soldiers pride.
    They look and say it's raindrops, when tears weep from my eyes,
    For those children of those children, of those who came before.
    I see great sadness and respect, bring comfort to their souls.
    Then as the setting sun goes down, i stand vigil all alone.

    8 / 29 / 2017.     

Copyright © george seal | Year Posted 2017

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First World War

I envy the dust, the way it moves all free and careless,
released from it’s sleeping state the thunderous pounds 
of late shelling, again endless. 

Muffled shouting, through this trench confounding,

Mustard attack, gas mask aside, fingers in fumbling fight
bitter cold night in a field. 

No fireside, food to bite
cigarettes to smoke and mates to joke.

last one gone two days ago up one minute then vanished in a puff of smoke.

this place is beyond reality, it’s beyond insanity 
fighting for earth no mother walked nor father built.

If they want to fight then bring it to my hills, not this flat wasteland of mud, blood, bones and chills.

We were thrown into this bloody war,
and we wont have our say, like we've never had before.

Taken to the slaughter history will say, 
throwing ourselves forward like tidal-waves. 

Waves on waves of sacrificial lunacy again and again.

we've taken little ground and this other trench looks bad, worse than ours 
doesn't looked heavily manned looks like we lost more man.

What do we gain now? apart from more time in thought.

those withered layers of rotting feverish flesh, one part is fresh 
the other pure dread. 

captain is shouting, up on my legs 
what’s going on...conscious or dead?

Copyright © Paul K K | Year Posted 2016

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Silent night

The air was brittle with the cold
mud made life so very hard to bare.
Came to mind that maybe xmas is soon
Remembers roaring fires and christmas fayre

was so cold in the trenches
enemy not so many yards away,
trying to remember if its the twenty fifth
I think it's Christmas day

can hear the sound of music
soldiers singing for all their might,
we joined them in a rendering
of the carol Silent Night.

I peeped out of the bunker
to see the enemy doing the same,
we both held up a white flag
with a makeshift ball we had a game.

these were our enemies
yet human too
we can forget it for awhile
having fun is the right thing to do

this really happened in WorldWar 1
at the end of the evening, went our own way
Christmas is a day to rejoice 
to live to fight another day.

Penned 26 November 2015

Copyright © Seren Roberts | Year Posted 2015

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The War In My Mind

The war is over
The war continues in my mind
Seeing in my mind's eye my first kill

"He's mine, I saw him first," I told the other soldiers
The boom of my rifle echoing in my ears
My eyes watching the video in my head
He fell head first, legs kicking in the air
Then stillness

The stench of vomit filling my nostrils
Sick to my stomach
Whom am I to take another's life
Am I a good man or a bad man
A question of many a soldier

Hell became the norm after many more kills
War is hell
If only I
Maybe if
The war continues in my mind



Copyright © Shirley Rebstock | Year Posted 2017

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In pursuit of world peace

When I reached at 4,
My father brought, 
A packet of gift;
Held me to heart,
Kissed my cheeks,
Then handed to me, 
Saying "happy birthday my son,"
Opened and showed,
The Sten gun and pistol toy"
Saying "this is a perfect gift for boys";
Taught me how to use, 
Saying "Perfect machine 
for your 'war and peace' game";
Paused for some time,
Then gaze in my eyes,
He pulled the plastic trigger,
Displayed usage of toy,
Saying "world is violent, 
May need one day";

World spends more on weapons,
Than feeding needy poor;
Impels the innocent poor,
By provoking slogans,
of religion and race;
Stimulate virgin minds,
"To hold the gun in hand,
And ask for peace, parity";
Weapon deals are 
So profitable business,
All benefit whosoever involved;
Reaches to Hungry and poor,
Where Food and medicines,
Can't reach;
Weapon sale gets momentum, 
In the name of peace;
They know how to split,
Divide and rule;
In the name of world in peace;
Fly dove of peace in the sky,
Then give weapon to shoot;

© sadashivan nair

Copyright © sadashivan nair | Year Posted 2017

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The Call To Arms

Lord Kitchener sent out the call to arms
In England boys and men heeded the call
Women took over the factories and farms
Before the armistice thousands would fall.

Big guns like thunder all day and all night
Daily we witnessed severe waste of life
Fatigue and hunger, we still had to fight
I thought of home often and my dear wife.

The big battle came and the whistle blew
We charged the enemy, they opened fire
Death was coming and many of us knew
I saw many comrades face down in mire.

Fatally wounded on the ground I fell
But happy I was on leaving this hell.

Written on 19th July 2018.

For your finest sonnet contest sponsored by Mark Massey.
Judged 8.8.2018

Copyright © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2018

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Red Poppies Of Flanders

Red Poppies of Flanders

Digging trenches 
Dawn to dusk
Forcing shovels 
In the dust...

Weather's freezing 
Clothes to skin
While it's raining,
Yet, again...

Rank and muddy 
Head to toe
Slip and sliding 
As we go...

The blinding lights
The deaf'ning sounds
The endless nights 
In muddy grounds...

Trenches flooding 
Through the ranks
Muddy waters
Breach the banks...

Wounds ooze bleeding 
Muddy mix
Smell the Reaper
Reaching Styx...

Men and horses
Side by side
Some lay wounded 
Others died...

Still we hold to
Fleeting hope
Among the shells
And stinking smoke...

Through fields of mud
And charred stick trees
Where nothing grows 
Deep stained in blood...

But the poppy
Bright blood red
From these grounds
Of the dead...
These battle-scared
Fields' true price
Remembers All
Who sacrificed. 

deborah burch©07.21.17

Copyright © Deborah Burch | Year Posted 2017

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Do not dare
To form poetry of war
If you weren't even there.
Do not dare
To pin the medal
to an unblooded tunic.
They have never shone in glory,
Nor, even in reflected gore,
Shown death's feast.

It is not when death releases its rigid hold,
And the jaws of those lying drop cold.
It is when, with disbelief,
They hear respect and platitudes,
And the utterance of gratitude,
And bleeding hearts are shown bare,
By those who weren't even there.

And the pals, all gone now.
They marched in rank from the field,
And looked on their lost years.
No need for prayers,
Or the false tears,
As shed by those who weren't even there.

Think on, lads, as you march past Tommy.
Eyes right,
See those who sent him.
Eyes left,
See the cost.
Futures all lost.
Job done.

And the false medals dine with their host.
They never stood in the lines.
They never died on the mines.
They never screamed at the 5.9's.

Copyright © william guile | Year Posted 2018

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For the Fallen in Flanders Field - Original

Famished and flagging footsoldiers;
formerly fitters and farmers.
Facing fatigue, fitful fever,
faeces and foul, foetid fungi.
Fostering feelings, frustrated,
for this faraway, foreign field.

Forsaking fissures and furrows,
forced forwards with fleetness of foot.
Firearms flash and fragments fly far,
feigning the firmament aflame.
Fighting so fierce and ferocious,
fratricide set free on this field.

Fuelled by freedom, nay, falsehood;
for their fellows and friends, foremost.
Forays so fraught with fine failure,
fatally fettered from the first.
Forged by such fatuous fawners,
focus firmly fixed on this field.

Forfeiting furtive and fiendish,
fulfilment was falsely forecast.
Fate flexes her fickle fingers,
future’s foretold and foreshadowed.
Faustian favours forthcoming,
for folly to feud for a field.

Families of fine forefathers,
fought fiercely, for fear we’d forget.
Forthright and filial feelings,
forgo fun and frivolity.
Familiar flora forms focus,
for the fallen in Flanders Field.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

8 syallables on every line (
November 2018

(This is my original / extended version)

I wanted to do something special - and a bit different - to mark the centenary of the end of The Great War (11 November 1918).  This poem is dedicated to all the brave souls lost defending freedom during that terrible conflict (and all conflicts since).

Copyright © John Michaels | Year Posted 2018

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Fields of red of Poppy leaf

Fields of red, of poppy leaf
The fields where  so many brave came to grief
Brave men indeed who refused to kneel
To give freedom to others, we remember them still

Fields of red, of poppy leaf
For Those men and boys who passed we grieve
The light extinguished in their eyes
But the dream of freedom was realised

Fields of red, of Poppy leaf
Freedom for all was their belief
This is the gift that they bestowed
The gift they gave as their lifeblood flowed

Fields of red, of Poppy leaf
Years have passed and still we grieve
We remember the fallen, the brave that have gone
The men and women all standing as one.
The Fields of red, of Poppy leaf…
Armistice day 11/11

Copyright © John Steward | Year Posted 2018

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They Never Went To War

They never went to war; they stayed at home
The young, the old, the unwell and the dead
The women who were not allowed to roam
The men who tilled the fields and baked the bread
Some sat in darkness waiting for the rap
Of letterbox, and soft white feather fall
The silence broken by a dripping tap
Dark shadows cast by street lamps on the wall
The little lads who ran behind the train
That took their fathers off to certain death
Who waved until their arms ached in the rain
Who ran until their lungs ran out of breath
Old men who yearned for youth; just one more chance
To feel the blood flow, hear the battle cry
To wear the uniform and take a stance
To stand with other men, to fight and die
The crippled and the mad, the deaf, the blind
Escaped the fate of many thousand men
Some angry that they had been left behind
Some thankful that they’d never fight again
Women, who with their sleeves rolled ploughed the land
Lit candles, raised the children, hid their tears
Made ammunitions with a careful hand
Kept watch and saved the night time for their fears
So many stayed at home, and stayed alive
And suffered pain and loss, regret and guilt
That they were left, that they were to survive
Within the house such sacrifice had built
Their many names are not inscribed on stone
Those sorrowed souls, so haunted by war’s ghost
Were left to stand and mourn the dead alone
Listening to the trumpet sound the post

by Gail


Copyright © Gail Foster | Year Posted 2015

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School of life

Every Situation that is challenging
Trust me it is life Changing 
And if you think I'm joking
You should ask yourself why I'm always praying
and not playing

Life is not taught or bought
You don't Log-in to Google
And Google How to Live
There is no lines talking about living
Ask me...what Is life?

You have to take the wrong 
just before you reach your final destination
After I..took it
I see Life in a 3 Dimension

Copyright © Xihluke mlangeni | Year Posted 2015

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remembrance day

we think of those who went to war
we think of them and what they were fighting for
they stood for what they believed was right
they fought for our country and did not take flight
they risked their life so we could be free
they fought all that time ago even for you and me
they were our troops
as one they did stand 
to fight for peace across our land
so think of those who had to go away
and remember them today. Amen

Copyright © diane christian | Year Posted 2015

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Tears of 1914

Fallen boys with white crosses,
your nightmares now peaceful dreams
Gone the shrapnel, the bullets,
trenches of crimson blood streams.

To earth, condemned, fears of men,
fertile ashes to brave dust
Rouse from warm brotherly beds,
dear sirs remind us you must.

Listen! A trumpet calling
by dawn soldier's silhouette
Heed the Last Post of battle,
forever lest we forget.

Arise ye from deep slumber,
Unknown spirits of unseen
and we will wipe away
your tears of Nineteen Fourteen.

(Syllabic' verse with end-rhyme, 14 syllables per line, 7 syllable caesura)

Copyright © Marco Bing | Year Posted 2014

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My Bright Orange Rugby Shirt

The bright orange rugby shirt I had, 
When I was fourteen, fifteen, sixteen and seventeen,  
Was my trophy and my pride and joy, 
Never to be deprived of me, 
Even if I complained to my parents or to their friend, 
To have been seen to be a boy too much, 
Or, in other words, mistaken as a superior person,  
With other sociology to fulfil all my wishes. 

I was just assertive and intelligent and all that, 
A fashion icon, an example to others, 
To disabled people or to church young persons, 
Who were both the same to me, like each other;
They just wanted to fit into society, 
To mark their case for more wheelchair rights,
Or in order to state their reason for believing in god. 

I had my identity, my beliefs, and my role models, 
Listened to them in respect, with amorosity:
I knew what I wanted to do in life, 
And my goals were of course reasonable, 
Because they could be achieved no problem, abstractly.

But that was it, and there it was, 
Objectively everything sounded fine, 
Doable, but what you thought about it, 
The practicalities weighed you down, 
Taught the string which so dangled entertainingly, 
As a condition that was more of a pleasure,   
To make, to work out such that your desires happened. 

So my bright rugby shirt said it all really, 
That I should have my desires and goals, 
That I should be met and facilitated in life, 
And not my parents or those church leaders, 
That I was supposed to follow.

I did not ever have to state my case beforehand,
Before the meetings about my future and care needs, 
Because everyone knew I was an atheist, 
Able with expression and communication, 
Able with much trust for other people. 

I was in Germany once with my parents,  
Dressed as usual in the clothes that I like,
Without hesitation, care or timidity; 
My jumper may not have been bright orange, 
But it was still colourful enough to attract attention.

So my parents were embarrassed, particularly my dad, 
Who was a war veteran true and sensitive, 
And so from then on we hid inside shops, 
And even stayed longer in restaurants,  
Because all the wheelchair spaces for the cafés, 
Were outside those cafés at tables on the pavement;
So we shopped, visited the toilet more, went to museums, 
Instead of drinking coffee in the cafés of Berlin.

Copyright © Rhoda Monihan | Year Posted 2016

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I Wish

I wish the world was peaceful
And no one had to die
I wish to banish agony and pain
So no one had to cry
I wish for no violence
No shrapnel in the thigh
I wish for more respect in the world
So soldiers could get by
I wish the world was pure and good 
So no one had reason to lie

Copyright © Mikayla Borchard | Year Posted 2016

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A Big Red Bow

Liberties subtle whisper, kicked up dust, his boots it lingers. 
	Glistening brow, hope pours by sweat drips, reflecting restless weathered fingers.

Foreshadowed looks a worried face, brave hearts strength, unnerved by grace,
     Freedoms song his heart starts pounding, inspired backbones, by foot they race.
Our family’s values together they’ve protected, Integrities goodness they protect our land, 
	She too marched forward, a mothers love, by flags freedom, united we stand.

A Veteran’s life, we stand hearts open, respects gratitude to embrace we go, 
	A life we’ve dreamed by generations thriving, our gift wrapped freedom, in a big red bow.

Copyright © Chelcie Darling | Year Posted 2016

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Russian Dreams

Russian Dreams

Ukraine screams
In the deep of night
The death squad’s March and gaily sing
The motherland is great
Jews are all dead
Russia is the new Reich
No matter what the putain has said

Estonia has fallen
Latvia knows it’s a recall of  old Stalin
It started with Russians
Shooting black Russians in the Volga night
Whipping pussy riots into a frenzy
The free press all but surrendered
Or maybe butchered ya?
The orthodox clergy recalled to the crusades

The Kremlin will march
Like Napoleon before
Not heeding history
Or the battles lost in lore
Russians have been imprisoned
In the century before

This is why
You may live to see
 ………..a new world war of three

Copyright © arthur vaso | Year Posted 2016

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My Life for Yours

(about the two wars)

I gave my life for you, 
My grit was your prosperity, 
So that you could do. 

I swallowed at the task, 
Girded myself bravely, 
Prepared to have a mask. 

When self-awareness engulfed, 
And loneliness overcame, 
Determination was loved. 

I fought a man every time, 
I faced the thwarting enemy, 
No easy game of mine. 

I strove to either succeed,
Or to sacrifice my everything, 
But the opposition to impede. 

I thought of family and you, 
Freedom and liberty, 
And the rightness of the two. 

Copyright © Rhoda Monihan | Year Posted 2015