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Great Poems of the First World War

John Simkin

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The Dead (The Brothered Dead Lain Cheek to Cheek) by Rene Arcos

In the wind that blows

The veils of widows

All float on one side

And the mingeld tears

Of a thousand sorrows

In one stream glide.

Pressing each other close the dead

Who own no hatred and no flag,

Their hair veneered with clotted blood,

The dead are all on the same side.

In the one clay where endlessly

Beginnings blend with the world that dies

The brothered dead lain cheek to cheek

Today atone for the same defeat.

Divided sons, fight on, fight on,

You lacerate humanity

And tear the earth apart in vain,

The dead are all on the same side;

Under the earth no more than one,

One field, one single hope, abide,

As for the universe can only be

One combat and one victory.

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  • 3 years later...


The beautiful, the fair, the elegant,

Is that which pleases us, says Kant,

Without a thought of interest or advantage.

I used to watch men when they spoke of beauty

And measure their enthusiasm. One

An old man, seeing a ( ) setting sun,

Praised it ( ) a certain sense of duty

To the calm evening and his time of life.

I know another man that never says a Beauty

But of a horse; ( )

Men seldom speak of beauty, beauty as such,

Not even lovers think about it much.

Women of course consider it for hours

In mirrors; ( )

A shrapnel ball -

Just where the wet skin glistened when he swam -

Like a fully-opened sea-anemone.

We both said 'What a beauty! What a beauty, lad'

I knew that in that flower he saw a hope

Of living on, and seeing again the roses of his home.

Beauty is that which pleases and delights,

Not bringing personal advantage - Kant.

But later on I heard

A canker worked into that crimson flower

And that he sank with it

And laid it with the anemones off Dover

by Wilfred Owen

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