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Guide Civil Wars: Poems

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He must answer for what he perpetrated, for the conscience of the world has demanded it. What makes this barbarism even worse is that it happened in a country which had schools, hospitals, factories, banks, churches, mosques, hotels, tourist agencies. It did not happen in Rwanda, nor Northern India, nor Indonesia, nor in Cambodia: it happened here on our own doorstep in Europe. So my friend in Vienna was right: history was on his side.


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Over the last years, every country in Europe has suffered from civil war: Germany in the Thirty Years' War; France in ; Spain in the s; and the first Jews which Hitler killed were German citizens. England has suffered in two civil wars: for forty years in the Wars of the Roses, and for eight years in the struggle between king and Parliament in the seventeenth century. Nevertheless, the memory of that agony lingered throughout the Tudor years, and in his history plays, Shakespeare, partly for propaganda reasons, reminded his audience of the horrors of those wars, and the peace that Elizabeth preserved.

In Henry VI , there is a harrowing scene where a father enters stage right bearing the body of his son, whom he has discovered he has killed, and a son enters stage left bearing the body of his father, whom he has killed. Henry bemoans the tragedy in these words:. O, piteous spectacle! O, bloody times!

Great War Poems

In the last verse of the poem, he reminds his Victorian reader of the price that was paid for parliamentary sovereignty:. And She of the seven hills shall mourn her children's ills, And tremble when she thinks of the edge of England's sword; And the Kings of earth in fear shall shudder when they hear What the hand of God hath wrought for the Houses and the Word. Apart from the Jacobite rising of , which was more in the nature of an attempted coup, there has not been political bloodshed on this island since , though, alas, the same cannot be said for Northern Ireland.

We have avoided civil war for over years because constitutional development contained conflict; over-weaning power was clipped by the law; dissent was tolerated; opposition allowed to operate free from the fear of arbitrary arrest; the rights of minorities were protected; and power passed from one ruling party to another without revolution or fratricide. Other countries have not been so fortunate or so wise. America in the s was consumed by a brutal civil war in which four million Americans were killed - all by other Americans.

The repercussions of that war still run through the America of today, but the genius of Lincoln recognised that conciliation was better than retribution. The great poet of the American Civil War was Walt Whitman, who volunteered to work as a hospital orderly after he had fruitlessly searched for the body of his brother on one of the battlefields. He realised that enemies were really brothers - would that his wisdom had been learnt by succeeding generations in the world:.

Word over all, beautiful as the sky, Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage must in time be utterly lost, That the bands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly softly wash again, and ever again, this soil'd world; For my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself is dead, I look where he lies white-faced and still in the coffin - I draw near, Bend down and touch lightly with my lips the white face in the coffin. Skip to main content. Google Tag Manager. Ruth Graham. Craft Vs. Ange Mlinko. Poetry, Wartime, and Unwieldy Metaphors. Cliff Doerksen. Poets participate in a panel on war and peace poems.

War Stories. Evan Smith Rakoff. Jacob Silverman. Essays from Poetry magazine. Matthew Doherty. Eliza Griswold. Appeared in Poetry Magazine Sarajevo Blues.

Civil War Poetry

Aleksandar Hemon. Appeared in Poetry Magazine Romance and Reality. William James Lennox Jr. Rachel Cohen. Chris Hedges.

Civil War Poem

Nathaniel Fick. Contemporary Poems post We Lived Happily During the War. Ilya Kaminsky.

Vietnam Epic Treatment. Donald Revell. Poem I lived in the first century of world wars. Muriel Rukeyser. The Hurt Locker. Brian Turner. Claudia Rankine. Seamus Heaney. The Fury of Aerial Bombardment. Richard Eberhart. Camouflaging the Chimera. Yusef Komunyakaa. To Our Land. Mahmoud Darwish. Ode for the American Dead in Asia. Thomas McGrath. Gettysburg: July 1, Jane Kenyon.

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Requiem for the First Half of Split. Alice Notley. Yehuda Amichai. The Conscientious Objector. Karl Shapiro. The Grand Army of the Republic. John Spaulding. Charles Reznikoff. At the Bomb Testing Site.

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War poet - Wikipedia

William E. Healing Gila. Lawson Fusao Inada. The Lost Pilot.