Poems from the British Modern Period (1914-1945)

Docker by Seamus Heaney

‘Docker’ is a 1966 poem by Seamus Heaney which depicts the life of a dockworker in Belfast and explores his personal and religious sense of discord.

Docker by Seamus Heaney Poem Visual Representation

Everyone Sang by Siegfried Sassoon

‘Everyone Sang’ by Siegfried Sassoon is a moving poem about the joy experienced at the end of World War I. Knowing that the horrors of the war are over, the world sang out with the joy of a newly uncaged bird.

Everyone Sang by Siegfried Sassoon Visual Representation

Love on the Farm by D.H. Lawrence

‘Love on the Farm’ by D.H. Lawrence is a poem about the universality of love, passion, and death. Lawrence depicts these elements through the various lives observable on a farm.

Love on the Farm by D.H. Lawrence Visual Representation

Money, O! by W.H. Davies

‘Money, O!’ by W.H Davies is a poem that argues that having a lot of money is not all that it’s cracked up to be. While being well off financially comes with its benefits, it comes at the expense of genuine relationships.

Money, Oh! By W.H. Davies Visual Representation

The Beach by Robert Graves

‘The Beach’ by Robert Graves is a poem about the contrast between childhood innocence and an adult mindset. The poem depicts this dichotomy by demonstrating the difference between how a boatman and a group of children interact with the ocean.

The Beach by Robert Graves Visual Representation

Us Two by A. A. Milne

‘Us Two’ is a classic A.A. Milne poem. It depicts the simple and lighthearted adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the speaker, who is likely Christopher Robin.

Vespers by A.A. Milne

‘Vespers’ by A.A. Milne is a thoughtful religious poem. It depicts Christopher Robin’s bedtime routine and prayers.

Buckingham Palace by A.A. Milne

‘Buckingham Palace’ is one of the clever poems that A.A. Milne wrote featuring his famous characters from the Winnie-the-Pooh books. It depicts Alice and Christopher’s trip to see the changing of the guard.

The Friend by A.A. Milne

‘The Friend’ by A.A. Milne is a thoughtful poem about fear. The speaker openly discusses his own concerns about his creative work and reputation.

Poem by Eeyore by A.A. Milne

‘Poem by Eeyore’ is one of the best poems A.A. Milne wrote featuring characters from Winnie-the-Pooh. In this case, Eeyore shares his relatable thoughts about writing.

Solitude by A.A. Milne

‘Solitude’ by A.A. Milne discusses themes of solitude. The poem also evokes feelings of contentment as Milne depicts Christopher’s secret hideaway.

Sand Between the Toes by A.A. Milne

‘Sand Between the Toes’ by A.A. Milne is an upbeat poem. It focuses on a perfect day on the beach and uses characters from Milne’s Winnie the Pooh novels.

Sneezles by A.A. Milne

‘Sneezles’ by A.A. Milne is a funny poem that uses outrageous images. The young speaker, Christopher Robin, depicts his dreadful made-up illness.

If I Were King by A.A. Milne

‘If I Were King’ by A.A. Milne is a highly entertaining poem. It contains the fantastical thoughts of a young boy who wants to be king.

Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne

‘Now We Are Six’ by A. A. Milne is a funny poem. The young speaker talks about what life was like when they were younger than they are now.

Halfway Down by A. A. Milne

‘Halfway Down’ by A.A. Milne focuses on a moment in which a young speaker is stuck between the top of the stairs and the bottom. It is both entertaining and thoughtful.

Wind On The Hill by A. A. Milne

‘Wind On The Hill’ by A. A. Milne is an upbeat children’s poem. It follows a thoughtful child who is playing with a toy kite.

Spring Morning by A. A. Milne

‘Spring Morning’ by A. A. Milne creates an uncertain and nostalgic tone by asking the same question several times. The young speak can’t stop asking “Where am I going?”

Sweeney among the Nightingales by T.S. Eliot

‘Sweeney among the Nightingales’ (1918), one of Eliot’s modernist poems, first featured the morally degraded, spiritually hollow, and libidinous character of Sweeney, who, in this poem, is seduced by prostitutes in a pub.

Sweeney among the Nightingales by T. S. Eliot Visual Representation

Futility by Wilfred Owen

Despite Wilfred Owen’s prodigious writing, only five poems were ever published in his lifetime – probably because of his strong anti-war sentiment, which would not have been in line with British policy at the time, particularly in their attempt to gather rather more and more people to sign up for the war.

Futility by Wilfred Owen Visual Representation

Death in the Arctic by Robert Service

Robert Service’s ‘Death in the Arctic’ tells a bleak, dark story in such an evocative way that even after the poem finishes, the reader can’t help but wonder for more.

Death in the Arctic by Robert Service Visual Representation

Counter-Attack by Siegfried Sassoon

‘Counter-Attack’ is perhaps Siegfried Sassoon’s longest poem that describes a failed counter-attack on the German line. From the very first stanza, a sense of hopelessness lurks in this poem.

Counter-Attack by Siegfried Sassoon Visual Representation

1914 by Wilfred Owen

The best inspirations for poetry, or any art, really, as with the case of Owen’s ‘1914,’ come from anything that is real and important in the life of the writer.

1914 by Wilfred Owen Visual Representation

A Terre by Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen wrote ‘A Terre’ about the aftermath of the war. In it, a soldier reminisces about his days before the war – the days when he had full functionality of his limbs, and could do whatever he wanted – to an unknown listener, most likely a young and influential boy.

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