Roughly 10 million troopers misplaced their lives in World Warfare I, together with seven million civilians. The horror of the struggle and its aftermath altered the world for many years, and poets responded to the brutalities and losses in new methods. Simply months earlier than his demise in 1918, English poet Wilfred Owen famously wrote, “This guide just isn’t about heroes. English Poetry just isn’t but match to talk of them. Neither is it about deeds, or lands, nor something about glory, honour, may, majesty, dominion, or energy, besides Warfare. Above all I’m not involved with Poetry. My topic is Warfare, and the pity of Warfare.”

To mark the WWI centenary, we’ve put collectively a sampling of poems written in English by each troopers and civilians, chosen from our archive of over 250 poems from WWI. We’ve additionally compiled a set showcasing the poets who served and volunteered in World Warfare I.

Whereas many of those poems don’t deal with a selected struggle occasion, we’ve listed them by yr, together with a collection of historic markers, to contextualize the poems traditionally. Chances are you’ll discover that extra poems in 1914 and 1915 extoll the previous virtues of honor, obligation, heroism, and glory, whereas many later poems after 1915 method these lofty abstractions with far better skepticism and ethical subtlety, by means of realism and bitter irony. Although horrific depictions of battle in poetry date again to Homer’s Iliad, the later poems of WWI mark a considerable shift in how we view struggle and sacrifice. 


Archduke Ferdinand assassinated. Outbreak of struggle in July/August. Germany invades Belgium. First Battle of the Marne, First Battle of Ypres. United States stays impartial. Trench warfare begins. The Siege of Antwerp. The Christmas truce.

Channel Firing” by Thomas Hardy

On Receiving Information of the Warfare” by Isaac Rosenberg

Peace” by Rupert Brooke (revealed in Poetry)

The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke (revealed in Poetry)

The Lifeless” by Rupert Brooke

Becoming a member of the Colors” by Katherine Tynan

Males Who March Away” by Thomas Hardy

Warfare Ladies” by Jessie Pope

On Heaven” by Ford Madox Ford (revealed in Poetry)

To Germany” by Charles Sorley

For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon

Phases” by Wallace Stevens (revealed in Poetry)

Iron” by Carl Sandburg (revealed in Poetry)

The Bombardment” by Amy Lowell (revealed in Poetry)

Warfare Yawp” by Richard Aldington (revealed in Poetry)

Fallen” by Alice Corbin Henderson (revealed in Poetry)

August 1914” by Mary Wedderburn Cannan

August 1914” by Isaac Rosenberg

August, 1914” by Vera Mary Brittain


Germans sink RMS Lusitania. The Dardenelles marketing campaign. Battle of Gallipoli. Second Battle of Ypres. First use of poison gasoline.

In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

Absolution” by Siegfried Sassoon

Dwelling” by Edward Thomas

Champagne, 1914-15” by Alan Seeger

Belgium” by Edith Wharton

Earlier than Marching and After” by Thomas Hardy

In Memoriam (Easter, 1915)” by Edward Thomas

The Owl” by Edward Thomas

A Lament” by Katherine Tynan

The Spring in Warfare-Time” by Sara Teasdale

Into Battle” by Julian Grenfell

On Being Requested for a Warfare Poem” by William Butler Yeats

Rouen” by Mary Wedderburn Cannan

Marching” by Isaac Rosenberg (revealed in Poetry)

Such, Such is Demise” by Charles Sorley

The Falling Leaves” by Margaret Postgate Cole

When You See Tens of millions of the Mouthless Lifeless” by Charles Sorley

That is No Case of Petty Proper or Unsuitable” by Edward Thomas


Battle of Verdun, Battle of the Somme. President Wilson re-elected with marketing campaign slogan, “He stored us out of the struggle.” Rasputin is murdered. 

Rain” by Edward Thomas

Break of Day within the Trenches” by Isaac Rosenberg (revealed in Poetry)

The Troop Ship” by Isaac Rosenberg

The Kiss” by Siegfried Sassoon

The Poet as Hero” by Siegfried Sassoon

Because the Crew’s Head Brass” by Edward Thomas

Sonnet 9: On Returning to the Entrance after Depart” by Alan Seeger

In Time of ‘The Breaking of Nations’” by Thomas Hardy

Easter, 1916” by William Butler Yeats

The Trumpet” by Edward Thomas

The Messages” by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson

The Demise Mattress” by Siegfried Sassoon

Lights Out” by Edward Thomas

The Evening Patrol” by Arthur Graeme West

The Warfare Movies” by Henry Newbolt

The Twins” by Robert Service

Ode in Reminiscence of the American Volunteers Fallen for France” by Alan Seeger

On the Motion pictures” by Florence Ripley Mastin


Germans difficulty Zimmerman Telegram to Mexico, United States declares struggle on Germany, draft begins. U.S. troops land in France. Third Battle of Ypres. Bolshevik rebellion in Russia, led by Lenin, headed by Trotsky. 

Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen

I Have a Rendezvous with Demise” by Alan Seeger

Blighters” by Siegfried Sassoon

Two Fusiliers” by Robert Graves

Anthem for Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen

Returning, We Hear the Larks” by Isaac Rosenberg

The Lifeless Kings” by Francis Ledwidge

Servitude” by Ivor Gurney

from Battle of the Somme: The Tune of the Mud” by Mary Borden

Lifeless Man’s Dump” by Isaac Rosenberg

Counter-Assault” by Siegfried Sassoon

Sergeant-Main Cash” by Robert Graves

The Work” by Gertrude Stein

To His Love” by Ivor Gurney

After the Warfare” by Mary Wedderburn Cannan

To Any Lifeless Officer” by Siegfried Sassoon

Pictures” by Ivor Gurney

Breakfast” by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson


U.S. President Wilson points Fourteen Factors to peace. Germany launches Spring Offensive, bombs Paris. United States launches assaults at Belleau Wooden and Argonne Forest. Bolsheviks homicide Tsar Nicholas II and Romanov household. Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates, Germany indicators armistice on November 11. Paris Peace Convention.

Unusual Assembly” by Wilfred Owen

Futility” by Wilfred Owen

Assault” by Siegfried Sassoon

The Veteran” by Margaret Postgate Cole (revealed in Poetry)

Repression of Warfare Expertise” by Siegfried Sassoon

Grass” by Carl Sandburg

Daybreak on the Somme” by Robert Nichols

God! How I hate you, you younger cheerful males” by Arthur Graeme West

Lettres d’un Soldat” by Wallace Stevens (revealed in Poetry)

Ypres” by Laurence Binyon

Spring Offensive” by Wilfred Owen

Epitaph On My Days in Hospital” by Vera Mary Brittain

Roundel” by Vera Mary Brittain

Warfare Moms” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Glory of Girls” by Sigfried Sassoon

Smile, Smile, Smile” by Wilfred Owen

S. I. W.” by Wilfred Owen

And There Was a Nice Calm” by Thomas Hardy



1919 and After
Armies demobilize, return dwelling. Peace Treaty of Versailles ratified by Germany; U.S. Senate votes to reject treaty and refuses to hitch League of Nations. Proposal and structure for League of Nations. The Cenotaph unveiled in London. Treaty of Sevres in 1920 ends struggle on Jap Entrance.

January 1919” by Christopher Middleton (1919)

Everybody Sang” by Siegfried Sassoon (1919)

The Cenotaph” by Charlotte Mew (1919)

First Time In” by Ivor Gurney (1919)

from Epitaphs of the Warfare, 1914-18” by Rudyard Kipling (1919)

Gethsemane” by Rudyard Kipling (1919)

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (Half I)” by Ezra Pound (1920)

A.E.F.” by Carl Sandburg (1920)

To E.T.” by Robert Frost (1920)

In Reminiscence of George Calderon” by Laurence Binyon (1920)

Warfare and Peace” by Edgell Rickword (1921)

Trench Poets” by Edgell Rickword (1921)

“Soldier-Poet” by Hervey Allen (1921)

For a Warfare Memorial” by G.Okay. Chesterton (1921)

Festubert, 1916” by Edmund Blunden (1921)

Elegy in a Nation Churchyard” by G.Okay. Chesterton (1922)

Epitaph on an Military of Mercenaries” by A.E. Housman (1922)

Soldier from the wars returning” by A.E. Housman (1922)

I Noticed England — July Evening” by Ivor Gurney (1922)

Champs d’Honneur” by Ernest Hemingway (1923) (revealed in Poetry)

Laventie” by Ivor Gurney (1925)

A Warfare Bride” by Jessie St. John (1928) (revealed in Poetry)


Learn extra poets who served or volunteered in WWI

Browse extra Warfare Poems




Poet’s Selection: Of Love and Warfare: D.A. Powell reads poems from Rupert Brooke and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Something However Candy: Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” and fashionable warfare.



“100 Years of Poetry: The Journal and Warfare”: A historic have a look at the function of poetry in wartime.

How Ought to We Write About Warfare and Trauma?: Tom Sleigh Seems to David Jones

Now On-line: Siegfried Sassoon’s Warfare Diaries

Poetry within the First World Warfare” from Poetry journal (1940)




PBS: The Nice Warfare and the Shaping of the 20th Century 

Oxford College: The First World Warfare Poetry Digital Archive

U.S. Nationwide WWI Museum

The Telegraph: Life on the Eve of Warfare

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