“There Will Come Soft Rains” by Sara Teasdale

ANZAC Day Special:
In commemoration of World War I
All the truth and the bleakness.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“There Will Come Soft Rains”

Sara Teasdale

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

“Apologia Pro Poemate Meo” by Wilfred Owen

ANZAC Day Special:
In commemoration of the First World War
Perhaps there can be no more poignant context for poetry than pointless, grinding, immense slaughter; perhaps there can be no greater poet than Wilfred Owen. In his “Apology for My Poetry,” Owen beautifully inscribes the perversity of soldier-victims of slaughter finding joy in their camaraderie and in their own perpetration of slaughter, and he indicts all of humanity for its institution of war that compels such perversity. The title is mordant; it is we who must apologize to Owen – and to all the other victims of war – for creating the conditions in which he created this poetry.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Apologia Pro Poemate Meo”

Wilfred Owen

I, too, saw God through mud,–
The mud that cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled.
War brought more glory to their eyes than blood,
And gave their laughs more glee than shakes a child.

Merry it was to laugh there–
Where death becomes absurd and life absurder.
For power was on us as we slashed bones bare
Not to feel sickness or remorse of murder. Continue reading

“At the Front in France” by Ring Lardner

ANZAC Day Special:
War tourism is odd. In this light piece, which includes his impressions of New Zealand Maori and Australian soldiers, the celebrated and worthy Ring Lardner recounts a day trip to the trenches of World War I as it is being fought, where he briefly stands on the brink of hell and blandly overlooks it. He also encounters runaway boy soldiers, sits with a wounded doctor, and spars with a condescending philanthropist.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“At the Front in France”

from My Four Weeks in France

Ring Lardner

edited by The Voice before the Void

We went into the aisle of the train car and found standing room among the Australians and Canadians returning from their leave. One of the former, a young, red-headed, scrappy-looking captain, smiled sympathetically and broke open a conversation. I was glad of it, for it gave me an opportunity of further study of the language. I am a glutton for languages, and the whole day has been a feast. We have listened to six different kinds — Australian, Canadian, British, French, Chinese and Harvard. I have acquired an almost perfect understanding of British, Australian and Canadian, which are somewhat similar, and of Harvard, which I studied a little back home. Continue reading