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Help finding more poems...
Posted by: Hoos (
Date: May 13, 2003 08:01PM

First off, thanks for everyone that helped me find poems on my last post.

Now, I am looking for poems on war. I know there are a ton out there, and I know that there are lots of threads in this board about war poems. But I am looking for a different kind of war poem.

I am doing a speech and I need poems to read along with an exerpt from Catch-22.

I need poems that deal with the futility of war and/or hopelessness of war. I will be using some more traditional war poems also, but I would like to be able to find some that fit in with the theme from Catch-22.

Thanks a lot.

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: Henryp (213.78.103.---)
Date: May 13, 2003 08:55PM

You may find some appropriate poems on this site;
[] />
It includes this one;

If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: rikki (
Date: May 13, 2003 09:07PM

You might find something suitable here -

[] />

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: May 13, 2003 09:08PM

Try looking at some of the works of Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon.

The General

‘GOOD-MORNING; good-morning!’ the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ’em dead,
And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
‘He’s a cheery old card,’ grunted Harry to Jack 5
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

. . . .
But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

-Siegfried Sassoon


Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: Les (
Date: May 13, 2003 09:22PM

Wilfred Owen's "Arms and the Boy", Thomas Hardy's "The Man He Killed", and many by Owen and Edward Thomas. There are websites about the various wars and their poetry. Most of the poetry of WWI was anti-war stuff. It might, or might not, fit into a discussion of Catch-22.


Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: KD (
Date: May 13, 2003 09:26PM

Maybe this one?

Do Not Weep, Maiden, For War Is Kind
by Stephen Crane

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrightened steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory flies above them,
Great is the battle-god,great, and his kingdom-
A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: rikki (
Date: May 13, 2003 09:58PM

I don't know if this relates to Catch-22, but here's a short one about the hopelessness of war -

War Grave

In the cold crocus-time
They took and slew him;
No love was there to see,
No flower to strew him;
Into a winter grave
Naked they threw him.

Through the long waiting night
No arm to fold her;
His black and winter bed
Than hers no colder.
In the cold crocus-time
They came, and told her.

Mary Stewart

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: May 14, 2003 05:02AM

This might fit:

The guns spell money's ultimate reason
In letters of lead on the spring hillside.
But the boy lying dead under the olive trees
Was too young and too silly
To have been notable to their important eye.
He was a better target for a kiss.

When he lived, tall factory hooters never
summoned him.
Nor did restaurant plate-glass doors revolve to
wave him in.
His name never appeared in the papers.
The world maintained its traditional wall
Round the dead with their gold sunk deep as a well,
Whilst his life, intangible as a Stock Exchange rumour,
drifted outside.

O too lightly he threw down his cap
One day when the breeze threw petals from the trees.
The unflowering wall sprouted with guns,
Machine-gun anger quickly scythed the grasses;
Flags and leaves fell from hands and branches;
The tweed cap rotted in the nettles.

Consider his life which was valueless
In terms of employment, hotel ledgers, news files.
Consider. One bullet in ten thousand kills a man.
Ask. Was so much expenditure justified
On the death of one so young and so silly
Lying under the olive trees, O world, O death?

Stephen Spender

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: margaretstaples (
Date: May 14, 2003 08:59AM

I'm looking for a poem that contains "day old child" . It may have the words "fresh" or "sent" "from God" or "new".
It talks about a newborn child who has arrived straight from our Father's home or heaven.

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: molly (
Date: May 14, 2003 09:08AM

Siegfried Sassoon's : At the Cenotaph,
Suicide in the Trenches,

Wilfred Owen Dulce et Decorum Est

Or why not have a look at Andrew Motion's two poems: Causa Beli
Regime Change

These are examples of poetry dealing with current issues and make uncomfortable reading!!!

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: May 14, 2003 02:23PM

Could it be the one on this link? [] />

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: May 14, 2003 05:42PM

This one has always reminded me of CATCH-22:


Naming of Parts
by Henry Reed

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And today we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For today we have naming of parts.

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: Alexandra Kilpatrick (
Date: May 14, 2003 09:10PM

You've been given Naming of the Parts, Can I offer you Base Details, by Siegfried Sassoon?:

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
I'd live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You'd see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour. 'Poor young chap,'
I'd say - 'I used to know his father well;
Yes, we've lost heavily in this last scrap.'
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I'd toddle safely home and die - in bed.

And also this by Ewart Alan Mackintosh - (Lieutenant, awarded the Military Cross, 4th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, killed in the Battle of Cambrai, 21 Nov 1917 aged 24)

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Brought up to Date

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward -
That is, unless some damned
Airman has blundered,
If the map isn't right
We'll be a funny sight.
So as they tramped along
Officers pondered,
While, with equipment hung,
Curses on every tongue,
Forward with rifles slung,
Slouched the six hundred.

Cannon to the right of them,
Cannon to the left of them,
Cannon in front of them,
Volleyed and thundered,
And - what was twice as bad-
Our gunners never had
Strafed that machine-gun lad.
I always wondered
If our old barrage could
Be half as bloody good
As the Staff said it would.
Was there a man dismayed?
Yes, they were damned afraid,
Loathing both shot and shell.
Into the mouth of hell,
Sticking it pretty well,
Slouched the six hundred.

Through the barrage they passed,
Men falling thick and fast,
Till the machine-gun blast
Smote them to lying
Down in the grass a bit;
Over the roar of it
Officers yelled,were hit,
Dropped and lay dying.
Then the retreat began
Every unwounded man
Staggered or crawled or ran
Back to the trench again,
While on the broken plain
Dead and untroubling,
Wounded and wondering,
What help the night would bring,
Lay the six hundred.

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: Mia (
Date: May 20, 2003 10:15AM

BUTTONS ----- Carl Sandburg
I HAVE been watching the war map slammed up for
advertising in front of the newspaper office.
Buttons--red and yellow buttons--blue and black buttons--
are shoved back and forth across the map.

A laughing young man, sunny with freckles,
Climbs a ladder, yells a joke to somebody in the crowd,
And then fixes a yellow button one inch west
And follows the yellow button with a black button one
inch west.

(Ten thousand men and boys twist on their bodies in
a red soak along a river edge,
Gasping of wounds, calling for water, some rattling
death in their throats.)
Who would guess what it cost to move two buttons one
inch on the war map here in front of the newspaper
office where the freckle-faced young man is laughing
to us?

There Will Come Soft Rains

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

-- Sara Teasdale

Re: Help finding more poems...
Posted by: Smokey (
Date: May 20, 2003 11:10PM

Robert Service's Rhymes of a Red Cross Man would be another source and probably can be found in any collected works of his

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