Poems about Soldiers

On Getting Out of Vietnam by Howard Nemerov

‘On Getting Out of Vietnam’, written by American poet Howard Nemerov, is a symbolic poem based on the US’s involvement in Vietnam War (1955-1975). It alludes to the Greek legend of Theseus and the Minotaur.

On Getting Out of Vietnam by Howard Nemerov 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

An Army Corps on the March by Walt Whitman

Whitman’s ‘An Army Corps on the March’ is a moving depiction of soldiers marching forward tirelessly during the Civil War. No matter how exhausted they were, they had a goal to fulfill and a dream to achieve!

An Army Corps on the March by Walt Whitman 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

Sonnet by George Henry Boker

‘Sonnet’ by George Henry Boker is a war-time sonnet. It was written in order to emphasize how brave soldiers are and what they sacrifice.

sonnet by george henry boker visual representation

Last Post by Carol Ann Duffy

In ‘Last Post’, the poet winds back the clock so we reimagine fallen soldiers being brought back to life instead of dying in battle in the fields during WWI.

Dreamers by Siegfried Sassoon

‘Dreamers’ by Siegfried Sassoon speakers on the inner, dream-like lives of soldiers fighting in the trenches of World War I. 

Winter-Lull by D.H. Lawrence

‘Winter-Lull’ by D.H. Lawrence describes a snow covered battlefield and the silence plaguing a group of soldiers during WWI. 

Shadwell Stair by Wilfred Owen

‘Shadwell Stair’ by Wilfred Owen describes a dockside in London and the emotional turmoil of the ghost that frequents it.  

To an army wife, in Sardis by Sappho

‘To an army wife, in Sardis’ by Sappho describes the power that the thing one loves has over the forward momentum of one’s life and the world at large. 

Misgivings by Herman Melville

‘Misgivings’ by Herman Melville describes the state of America right before the beginning of the Civil War and the fear that many felt for the future. 

Mesopotamia by Rudyard Kipling

‘Mesopotamia’ by Rudyard Kipling describes the aftermath of the siege of Kut-al-Amara and those who do and do not feel the imapct of it.

Reservist by Boey Kim Cheng

‘Reservist’ describes the repetitive nature of war and the preparations that go into arming reserve soldiers and preparing them for battle.

The Battle by Louis Simpson

In this sharp poem ‘The Battle’, Louis Simpson depicts life on the front line of war with searing honesty and unsentimentally.

Vergissmeinnicht by Keith Douglas

‘Vergissmeinnicht’ is about English soldiers returning to the scene of a battle fought three weeks previously and find the dead body of a German soldier.

The Castle by Edwin Muir

‘The Castle’ by Edwin Muir details a past event of a castle’s overtaking through the account of a soldier who witnessed the castle’s fall, firsthand.

Attack by Siegfried Sassoon

Attack’ by Siegfried Sassoon is an eye-opening poem about the harsh reality of war and what it feels like to be a soldier.

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.

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry, straight to your inbox

Start Your Perfect Poetry Journey

The Best-Kept Secrets of Poetry

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry ever straight to your inbox