Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
– Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
I should have asked by friend Chris, a published poet and professor of English, to verify my hunch – that there was more poetry written during the First World War (WW1) than any other war. Authors of virtually every general history of the war I’ve read use poems throughout their narratives; poems to try and convey the emotions of war the impact of the events on the individual; the pain of losing a friend or seeing so many die. As a rule, a poet connects with those aspects of being human much better than we historians.
Read more from Steve Rubert on ‘Poetry and War’ on his timely blog Exploring World War I in Belgium and The Netherlands.