The poetry​ of the First World War.

This week in class we discussed the works of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas and Rupert Brooke and the use of language that was used to describe the horrors of WW1.

It is interesting to see the different points of view the poets shared of the war. Some, like Brooke, had an almost romantic perception of death and war as shown in his poem `The Solider’.  You can read the poem here:

Then we have Owen’s poem `Anthem for Doomed Youth’ who had a more realistic view of the horrors of  war.   He compares the soldiers to cattle, slaughtered and dying in herds. You can read his poem here:

My grandfather’s Uncle, Henry (Harry) Alfred Cressy, served in the war and was killed in action on the 19th July 1916 in Fromelles, France.  He was 22 years of age.


I decided to write a poem through Harry’s eyes had he lived and returned home to Australia.


Back Home

Like all those who returned, no longer baby-faced,

but worn and weary,

I thought once I am home I won’t give a damn

but now I know I’m trapped.

I’ll always be on the front line.

How can I ever escape the horrors I have seen?

I close my eyes at night and the sun still shines in my mind,

the sound of whistling bullets still ring in my ears.


Everyone looks to me, wishing I was the same, like before.

The kid, who eagerly waved goodbye for new adventures, is long gone.

In his place, a young man made old by reality.

The lessons I have learnt,  I never wanted to know.

I can’t give in, for their deaths would have been for nothing.

I will go on but not the same.

I settle into an old new world with only one thought:

I don’t have to be happy at all to be happy I am alive.

Maybe one day I will know what it was all for.




One Reply to “The poetry​ of the First World War.”

  1. I love this poem- and especially its context based on a member of your family!
    Suggestions for improvement run something like this:
    Read the poem aloud. See which parts “sing” in harmony with the tone and mood of the poem.
    See which parts “stumble” and become prosaic.
    Try to shift syntax words until the word order and sounds breathe more life into the experience.
    Something like that….. all poets write/rewrite/rewrite/rewrite….

    My take on your first stanza:

    Like all those who returned,
    no longer baby-faced, worn and weary,
    I thought once home I won’t give a damn
    but now
    I know
    I’m trapped.

    I’ll always be on the front.
    How can I escape the horrors seen?

    At night I close my eyes; the sun still shines my mind,
    Whistling bullets still sing in my ears.

    HOW’S THAT BRENDON?? Interested to know what you think….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s