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  1. #1
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    Default Looking for a war poem...

    Hello all,

    I was hoping I could tap your collective consciousnesses on this...

    I can vaguely remember a war poem from school, that was called something like "Shoulder High" and every stanza ends in "and we'll carry him shoulder high" or something like that. It follows the story of a character called something like Master John(?) who is the son of a member of the gentry. It starts off with him winning a cricket match and (naturally) they carry him shoulder high.

    Then, the war breaks out... and everyone is excited about the glory that he'll come back with, and all the medals... and they'll carry him shoulder high. The final stanza shows that he's died, and they carry his coffin shoulder high.

    Does this ring any bells to anyone? Can anyone help me, I'd be highly in your debt!

    Ant x

    Watchers in the Fourth Dimension: A Doctor Who Podcast
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  2. #2
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    Default

    There's a poem "To an Athlete Dying Young" which has him brought home "shoulder-high" at the end of the first verse? Not sure that's a War Poem as such though?

    THE time you won your town the race
    We chaired you through the market-place;
    Man and boy stood cheering by,
    And home we brought you shoulder-high.

    To-day, the road all runners come,
    Shoulder-high we bring you home,
    And set you at your threshold down,
    Townsman of a stiller town.

    Smart lad, to slip betimes away
    From fields where glory does not stay,
    And early though the laurel grows
    It withers quicker than the rose.

    Eyes the shady night has shut
    Cannot see the record cut,
    And silence sounds no worse than cheers
    After earth has stopped the ears:

    Now you will not swell the rout
    Of lads that wore their honours out,
    Runners whom renown outran
    And the name died before the man.

    So set, before its echoes fade,
    The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
    And hold to the low lintel up
    The still-defended challenge-cup.

    And round that early-laurelled head
    Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
    And find unwithered on its curls
    The garland briefer than a girl's.

  3. #3
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    Hi Andrew,

    That's what Whitney suggested to me - but I don't think that that's it! I ended up e-mailing my old English teacher to find the one.

    It's possible that I've meshed two poems together in my mind. Equally, I went to a very pretentious school, so it could well be a relatively unknown poem by an old boy or something...

    Ant x

    Watchers in the Fourth Dimension: A Doctor Who Podcast
    Three Americans and a Brit attempt to watch their way through the entirety of Doctor Who
    ----
    Latest Episode: The WOTAN Clan, discussing The War Machines
    Available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Podbean
    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @watchers4d

  4. #4
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    Default

    Just wondering if you had any luck identifying your poem(s) Ant?

  5. #5
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    No joy yet, Andrew!

    Although I expect that I won't hear back from my old English master until Tuesday at the earliest...

    Ant x

    Watchers in the Fourth Dimension: A Doctor Who Podcast
    Three Americans and a Brit attempt to watch their way through the entirety of Doctor Who
    ----
    Latest Episode: The WOTAN Clan, discussing The War Machines
    Available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Podbean
    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @watchers4d

  6. #6

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    This probably isn't what you're looking for, but its a very moving - if not disturbing - poem nonetheless.



    Disabled by Wilfred Owen

    He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
    And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
    Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
    Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
    Voices of play and pleasure after day,
    Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
    About this time Town used to swing so gay
    When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees
    And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,
    In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
    Now he will never feel again how slim
    Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,
    All of them touch him like some queer disease.

    There was an artist silly for his face,
    For it was younger than his youth, last year.
    Now he is old; his back will never brace;
    He's lost his colour very far from here,
    Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
    And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race,
    And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
    One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg,
    After the matches carried shoulder-high.
    It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,
    He thought he'd better join. He wonders why . . .
    Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts.

    That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,
    Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts,
    He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;
    Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years.
    Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears
    Of Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hilts
    For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
    And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
    Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
    And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.

    Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
    Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
    Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul.
    Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes,
    And do what things the rules consider wise,
    And take whatever pity they may dole.
    To-night he noticed how the women's eyes
    Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
    How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
    And put him into bed? Why don't they come?