Poems from First World War Poets

Patterns by Amy Lowell

‘Patterns’ by Amy Lowell is an unforgettable poem about a woman’s loss during World War I. It describes the “patterns” of a speaker’s life and how, with the knowledge that her fiancé has died in the War, she’s doing to be confined to a far more sorrowful one. 

Patterns by Amy Lowell Visual Representation

Old Man by Edward Thomas

‘Old Man’ by Edward Thomas is a thoughtful piece about the loss of memory and a disconnect to one’s past. 

Old Man by Edward Thomas 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

A Subaltern by Siegfried Sassoon

In ‘A Subaltern’ the speaker catches a glimpse of the innocence and hope he thought the war had erased in a conversation with a junior military officer.

A Subaltern by Siegfried Sasson Visual Representation

Ultima Ratio Regum by Stephen Spender

‘Ultima Ratio Regum’ translates to English as “the last (ultimate) argument of kings,” which is an insinuation of war. In this poem, Spender portrays the effect of war on innocent, insignificant lives.

Ultima Ratio Regum by Stephen Spender Visual Representation

The Lost Pilot by James Tate

‘The Lost Pilot’ is dedicated to James Tate’s father, who died on a bombing mission in World War II in 1944. He was a co-pilot of a B-17.

The Lost Pilot by James Tate Visual Representation

The Rear-Guard by Siegfried Sassoon

Read Siegfried Sassoon’s ‘The Rear-Guard’ with a complete summary, analysis, and context to the war poem, about a soldier’s journey.

The Rear Guard by Siegfried Sassoon Visual Representation

Disabled by Wilfred Owen

A harrowing poem that was written by a WW1 veteran, Wilfred Owen describing the haunting loneliness of life as an injured post-war soldier.

Disabled by Wilfred Owen Featured Image

To God by Ivor Gurney

‘To God’ is a poem of the early twentieth century. It expresses the plight of the poet persona as he laments to God about his mental illness.

To God by Ivor Gurney Visual Representation

For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon

‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon is a beautiful and powerful war poem. It addresses the losses England suffered in World War I while celebrating the soldier’s patriotism and bravery.

For the Fallen by Lawrence Binyon visual representation

The Call by Robert Service

In ‘The Call,’ Robert Service reflects on the propaganda used to recruit soldiers into World War I, based on his living in France at the time.

Beat! Beat! Drums! by Walt Whitman

The commentary that Whitman provides in ‘Beat! Beat! Drums!’, in regard to the American Civil war, is that it’s all-encompassing and negative.

Wild With All Regrets by Wilfred Owen

‘Wild With All Regrets’ by Wilfred Owen takes place in the last few minutes of a dying soldier as his body shuts down, and he grows immobile.

The Send-Off by Wilfred Owen

‘The Send-Off’ is an anti-war poem and is atypically dark, which was a trademark of Wilfred Owen’s poetry.

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

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