‘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.
‘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.
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 speakers on the inner, dream-like lives of soldiers fighting in the trenches of World War I.
‘Winter-Lull’ by D.H. Lawrence describes a snow covered battlefield and the silence plaguing a group of soldiers during WWI.
‘And There Was a Great Calm’ by Thomas Hardy describes the horrors of WWI, the end of the war, and the ‘Great Calm’ which came on November 11th, 1918.
‘Break of Day in the Trenches’ by Isaac Rosenberg delves into the desolate feelings of alienation from the “other” that impacted soldiers in Word War I.
‘Shadwell Stair’ by Wilfred Owen describes a dockside in London and the emotional turmoil of the ghost that frequents it.
‘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.
‘Reservist’ describes the repetitive nature of war and the preparations that go into arming reserve soldiers and preparing them for battle.
‘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.
Attack’ by Siegfried Sassoon is an eye-opening poem about the harsh reality of war and what it feels like to be a soldier.
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.
‘Days’ by Philip Larkin is a beautiful poem that contemplates life in the poet’s typical fashion. He asks the reader to consider “What are days for?”
‘The Stretcher-Bearer’ is one of Robert Service’s signature wartime poems that recalls his experiences during the First World War.
‘O What Is That Sound’ by W.H Auden is a tragic poem reminiscing the trauma that many individuals endure during times of war.
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 takes place in the last few minutes of a dying soldier as his body shuts down, and he grows immobile.
‘In a Station of the Metro’ by Ezra Pound is the quintessential Imagist poem. Using very few words, he paints a clear and unforgettable image.
‘War Photographer’ by Carol Ann Duffy is an interesting poem. It depicts the unrest in the world from a photographer’s perspective.