I saw a man this morning

Who did not wish to die;

I ask, and cannot answer,

if otherwise wish I.

Fair broke the day this morning

Upon the Dardanelles:

The breeze blew soft, the morn’s cheeks

Were cold as cold sea-shells.

But other shells are waiting

Across the Aegean Sea;

Shrapnel and high explosives,

Shells and hells for me.

Oh Hell of ships and cities,

Hell of men like me,

Fatal second Helen,

Why must I follow thee?

Achilles came to Troyland

And I to Chersonese;

He turned from wrath to battle,

And I from three days’ peace.

Was it so hard, Achilles,

So very hard to die?

Thou knowest, and I know not;

So much the happier am I.

I will go back this morning

From Imbros o’er the sea.

Stand in the trench, Achilles,

Flame-capped, and shout for me.

Patrick Shaw-Stewart, Lieut-Commander,

RNVR Hood Battalion

Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

Croix De Guerre (France). Educated at Eton and

Balliol College, Oxford.

He served at Gallipoli and was later killed in France.

30th December 1917 aged 29

< POETS (from the top)

  Siegfried Sassoon

  Wilfred Owen

  John McCrae

  Rupert Brooke

When Wilfred Owen died in 1918 at the

age of twenty-five, only five of his poems

had been published. Yet he became one of

the most popular poets of the twentieth

century. He is now Britain’s national poet

of the Great War, frequently quoted in

newspapers, documentary films, and

novels. Today his work speaks to many

young people more powerfully than any

other poetry. But how many other poets

of the Great War do you know of, Sassoon,

Rosenberg, perhaps. Or does even a

mention of the word ‘poetry’ immediately

bring down the shutters?

If you’d like to find out more, banish

those prejudices and discover the wealth

of poetry that exists from the Great War

I send out at irregular intervals what I,

incorrectly, call ‘Today’s Poem.’

It consists of poems, verse, doggerel,

some ordinary, most good, a few great

concerned with War,

primarily the Great War



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