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Heroes Of Written Verse

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Owen's Last Letter Home
How My Heroes Inspire My Own Work
My Own Work
More Heroes
Still More Heroes

Edmund Blunden (1896-1974)

The Preamble

I sing of the loves I have had, of the
folk and the times and the places
That look to have left me for ever: but
still they have left their traces
Deep in my heart; if you are a lover of sorrow
or joy,
Listen, and learn the delights that have
passioned the heart of a boy.

I sing of the rivers and hamlets and woodlands
of Sussex and Kent,
Such as I know them: I found a delight wher-
ever I went,
By plat and by hatch, through acres of hops or
of corn.
I sing of the friends I have made, and the one
or two who would mourn.

By Chanctonbury

We shuddered on the blotched and
wrinkled down,
So gaunt and chilled with solitary
Sharp stubborn grass, black heather-trails, wild
Knotting their knared wood like a thorny
Huge funnelled dips to chalklands straked with
White railway smoke-drifts dimming by degrees,
Slow ploughs afield, flood waters on the leas,
And red roofs of the small, ungainly town:
And blue fog over all, and saddening all-
Thus lay the landscape. Up from sea there
A stately airship, clear and large awhile:
Then, gliding grandly inland many a mile,
It left our Druid height that black groves
Vanishing fog-like in the foggy pall.

John McCrae (1872-1918)

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The Anxious Dead

    O guns, fall silent till the dead men hear
          Above their heads the legions pressing on:
    (These fought their fight in time of bitter fear,
          And died not knowing how the day had gone.)

    O flashing muzzles, pause, and let them see
          The coming dawn that streaks the sky afar;
    Then let your mighty chorus witness be
          To them, and Caesar, that we still make war.

    Tell them, O guns, that we have heard their call,
          That we have sworn, and will not turn aside,
    That we will onward till we win or fall,
          That we will keep the faith for which they died.

    Bid them be patient, and some day, anon,
          They shall feel earth enwrapt in silence deep;
    Shall greet, in wonderment, the quiet dawn,
          And in content may turn them to their sleep.