Poems about World War

More Light! More Light! by Anthony Hecht

‘More Light! More Light!’ by Anthony Hecht what inspired by the poet’s experiences during World War II. It describes several horrific deaths, one and 16th-century England and three in Buchenwald during World War II.

More Light! More Light! by Anthony Hecht Visual Representation

Epitaph on a Tyrant by W.H. Auden

‘Epitaph on a Tyrant’ by W.H. Auden is a thoughtful poem written at the beginning of WWII. The piece describes a tyrant’s beliefs and his power over everything around him. 

Epitaph on a Tyrant by W.H. Auden 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

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. 

The Garden by Ezra Pound

‘The Garden’ by Ezra Pound describes the emotional conflict caused by changes in the upper and lower classes of England during the ending months of WWI. 

Secrets by Letitia Elizabeth Landon

‘Secrets’ describes the natural human affinity for the sorrows of the world and how one may be changed by their own interior “misery.” 

The Old Year by Henry Kendall

‘The Old Year’ by Henry Kendall is an optimistic piece that deals with how time passes and the intangible impact it leaves on the present.

In Westminster Abbey by John Betjeman

‘In Westminster Abbey’ is a satirical dramatic monologue in which Betjeman sends up the upper classes for their preoccupations with class and money.

Heart and Mind by Edith Sitwell

‘Heart and Mind’ is a poem that was written in 1944. Edith Sitwell’s best known work is the one produced during the Second World War.

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 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.

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