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 Post subject: Re: WWI poetry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:56 pm 
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Doodles, I don't think there is a museum in Beaumont Hamel. Beaumont Hamel is a small village and it is renowned for being in German hands during the Great War and being attacked on 1st July by both British and Canadian troops. It is the Canadian government who have built the only museum in Beaumont Hamel which is to commemorate the Canadians who fell - and Jane Eure quite rightly named it as the Newfoundland Memorial, quite stunning with lines of trenches and cemeteries dotted about as well as huge monuments to those who fought.

I think you may be referring to the museum in Albert, which is the closest town. It is known for its museum, although we've not been and we visit this area most years :oops: We really should make the effort!

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 Post subject: Re: WWI poetry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:04 pm 
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Oh, and I got so side tracked answering Doodles I forgot to comment on Jane Eyes' remark on the English soldiers in the trenches being illiterate in the war.

Another myth I'm afraid. There may have been a few souls who were illiterate, but on the whole they were an educated bunch and could certainly read and write fluently, evidenced by the numerous letters written home to family and friends and often printed, along with their photos, by local newspapers. Such a good resource for anyone doing research now.

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 Post subject: Re: WWI poetry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:13 pm 
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Apologies. I shall smack my dh's wrists soundly! We went to both the Newfoundland trenches/cemetery and the Museum which in Albert so he's obviously suffering from confusion in his old age. Did I mention the lunch was very good :wink: :D :D

Anyway, the geographically challenged doodles family can vouch for both the trenches and the museum.

Also worth a visit is Vimy Ridge.

The large cemeteries are wonderful tributes and very moving but I find the little ones just dotted along the road side with a dozen or so graves even more poignant.

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 Post subject: Re: WWI poetry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:25 pm 
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Snowdrops wrote:
I forgot to comment on Jane Eyes' remark on the English soldiers in the trenches being illiterate in the war.

Thank you for correcting this myth, Snowdrops! See, I couldn't get my head around it, but it is is a myth, I do not need to try! :lol: :lol:

ToadMum wrote:
DS2's English class watched the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth this week as part of a lesson on WWI poetry.

Then, they must have enjoyed the quote 'as cunning as a fox who's just been appointed professor of cunning at the Oxford university' :lol:
How many jokes would not be possible if Oxbridge did not exist! A hundred? A thousand? :wink:

Snowdrops wrote:
we visit this area most years

Next time you go to this area, snowdrops, please, tell me so that I could hide in your suitcase! :wink: I would love to go there! DS is going with his school to a battlefield trip this year, and I, poor mummy, stay at home... Not fair!

doodles wrote:
Did I mention the lunch was very good :wink: :D :D

Yes, you did! :D Ah, la bonne cuisine française! That makes my mouth water! :D

Thank you for all your tips, doodles!


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 Post subject: Re: WWI poetry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:33 pm 
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One of my favourite war poems is Vitai Lampada written before WW1 in 1892 by Sir Henry Newbolt. He went on to become a big wig in communications in WW1.

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 Post subject: Re: WWI poetry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:46 pm 
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Indian literature touchs the first world war experience through the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore from Bengal the first asian to win the nobel prize for literature. When the poet Wilfred Owen was to return to the front to lose his life in the First World War, he recited Tagore's parting words to his mother as his last goodbye. When he was so tragically and pointlessly killed, Owen's mother found Tagore's poem copied out in her son's hand in his diary:

When I go from hence

let this be my parting word,

that what I have seen is unsurpassable.

I have tasted of the hidden honey of this lotus

that expands on the ocean of light,

and thus am I blessed

---let this be my parting word.

In this playhouse of infinite forms

I have had my play

and here have I caught sight of him that is formless.

My whole body and my limbs

have thrilled with his touch who is beyond touch;

and if the end comes here, let it come

- let this be my parting word.

(Extracted from a BBC news article by Shashi Tharoor the ex UN official and current Indian politician about why the contibution of soldiers from the British Indian army have largely been forgotten in both world wars)

I think the poem really speaks to those who believe in God.

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 Post subject: Re: WWI poetry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:02 pm 
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doodles wrote:
One of my favourite war poems is Vitai Lampada written before WW1 in 1892 by Sir Henry Newbolt.

Oh dear, this perception of the war being a game to be played existed before Jessie Pope then! :shock: No doubt then that Henry Newbold was a propagandist at the Ministry of War of Information!

I was very shocked this year when I was reading Charley’s War (vol.1) to realise that, near the beginning of the war, some poor English soldiers were sent over the top pushing a football with their feet while they were being butchered! I couldn’t believe my eyes at first and asked for confirmation of this… which was given to me. :( :(

However, maybe…. and really it is ‘maybe’… we could perceive the shouts ‘play up! Play up! and Play the game!’ in Henry Newbolt’s poem like a rallying cry… which could also have been something like ‘courage boys! go forward!’…
Thank you for sharing, Doodles! :D


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 Post subject: Re: WWI poetry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:06 pm 
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quasimodo wrote:
When the poet Wilfred Owen was to return to the front to lose his life in the First World War...

What a pity that Owen returned to active service in France in July 1918, although he might have stayed on home-duty indefinitely! I praise his courage as he knew all the horrors of the war and had been treated for shell-shock at Craiglockhart War Hospital !


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 Post subject: Re: WWI poetry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:22 pm 
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JaneEyre wrote:
doodles wrote:
One of my favourite war poems is Vitai Lampada written before WW1 in 1892 by Sir Henry Newbolt.

Oh dear, this perception of the war being a game to be played existed before Jessie Pope then! :shock: No doubt then that Henry Newbold was a propagandist at the Ministry of War of Information!

I was very shocked this year when I was reading Charley’s War (vol.1) to realise that, near the beginning of the war, some poor English soldiers were sent over the top pushing a football with their feet while they were being butchered! I couldn’t believe my eyes at first and asked for confirmation of this… which was given to me. :( :(

However, maybe…. and really it is ‘maybe’… we could perceive the shouts ‘play up! Play up! and Play the game!’ in Henry Newbolt’s poem like a rallying cry… which could also have been something like ‘courage boys! go forward!’…
Thank you for sharing, Doodles! :D


That's interesting JE as I don't see it depicting war as a game at all. The war itself as an event is almost secondary, it's all about the young men. More of the sense of the soldiers being a team, standing together and dying together and looking out for each other. To play a team game you are usually young and the boys who died were young and that's why the sporting analogy is so apt. Historically it's very "of its time". Interesting isn't it how poetry can be interpreted differently by two different readers neither being right or wrong.

Just my musings as I rather like poetry.....

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Last edited by doodles on Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: WWI poetry
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:22 pm 
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I think my reading of the poem by Sir Henry Newbolt has been tinted by my former working on the poem ‘Who ‘s for the Game’ (with capital letter) where Jessie Pope compare WW1 to ‘the game, the biggest that’s played’ :shock: :
http://allpoetry.com/Who's-for-the-Game-

But yes, the first stanza in Newbolt's poem is clearly set in a school, where the boys learn certain values. Second one is set during the war, and third one insists on this value learnt at school and which should be like a torch shining during all life.

Interestingly, Sir Newbold came to dislike his most famous poem Vitai Lampada; during a 1923 speaking tour of Canada he was constantly called upon to recite the poem: "it's a kind of Frankenstein's Monster that I created thirty years ago," he complained. The poem retained its popularity in Canada long after it fell out of favour in Britain.

As you say, historically it's very "of its time".

doodles wrote:
Just my musings as I rather like poetry.....

Keep musing please, as I wish to discover more! :D

There is a book that you might enjoy if you do not have it already:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Out-Dark-Poetry ... id+roberts

Poems are put in context which is great!


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