Adrian Henri

(10 April 1932 - 20 December 2000 / Birkenhead, Cheshire)

Great War Poems - Poem by Adrian Henri


The same old soldiers walking along the same old skyline


Dead hand through the sandbags reaching out for the cream­and ­white butterfly


mud/water under duckboards/mud/rats scamper in starshell darkness/mud/smell of shit and rotting bodies/mud/resting your sweaty forehead on the sandbags OVER THE TOP the first men in the lunar landscape.


What did you do to the Great Whore, Daddy?'


Poppies slightly out­of­focus and farmcarts bringing in the peaceful dead.


The ghost of Wilfred Oven selling matches outside the Burlington Arcade.


Seafog. Red flaring lights from the shore batteries. The roar of shells rattle of machineguns. Water running in the bilges. My feet slipping on the damp cobbles of the quayside.




four white feathers clutched in a blood­stained envelope


a skull nestling in a bed of wild strawberries/boots mouldering green with fungus/saplings thrusting through rusting helmets/sunken barges drifting full of leaves down autumn rivers.

Comments about Great War Poems by Adrian Henri

  • Sylva Portoian (5/12/2012 3:48:00 AM)

    Very strong soulful poem...
    Feeling with unfair war
    Healthy youths...
    Thinking they are heros...
    Are waiting to reach
    Their unknown destiny...!


    3 person liked.
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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 16, 2011

Poem Edited: Monday, May 16, 2011

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