I'm not big on the old rhyming stuff. The truth is, I don't appreciate most poetry, probably because I can't understand 90% of it. (Maybe I'm too stupid?)
War poetry, however, specifically WW1 stuff, is the exception. There's a terrible, beautiful simplicity in the works of these long-dead soldier poets. Even now, a hundred years after they were written, their words are as raw and visceral as on the day they were first written.
For all their brutal honesty, these are poems that I can understand.
So, on this the eleventh day of the eleventh month, I'll leave you with one of my favourite poems. This one was written by Siegfried Sassoon. I hope you find it as moving as I do.
Soldiers are citizens of death's grey land,
Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.
I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.