War Poems - Poems For War - Lessons Of The War

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Lessons Of The War - Poem by Henry Reed

To Alan Mitchell

Vixi duellis nuper idoneus
Et militavi non sine gloria


I. Naming of Parts

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens,
And today we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards; we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring. It is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb; like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For today we have naming of parts.


Comments about Lessons Of The War by Henry Reed

  • Rookie - 0 Points Hunter Hart (5/15/2017 9:59:00 AM)

    Dear Mr. Reed, The concept of this poem was very interesting to me in the fact that it is not just a set of rules for war. The fact that it is all about how to build a gun and naming a gun is the most interesting part. Thank you for sharing you poem. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Rookie - 0 Points Juliet Languedoc (7/10/2014 8:46:00 AM)

    A writing that calls for attention. Lessons well taught (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 3,299 Points Sally Plumb Plumb (7/10/2013 2:21:00 AM)

    I have read this many times before... a favourite of mine. (Report) Reply

Read all 9 comments »

Poems About War

  1. 1. A War Song To Englishmen , William Blake
  2. 2. Love And War , Ovid
  3. 3. Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War , Margaret Atwood
  4. 4. The Next War , Wilfred Owen
  5. 5. A Prayer In Time Of War , Alfred Noyes
  6. 6. War Is Never Over , Cecil L. Harrison
  7. 7. From A German War Primer , Bertolt Brecht
  8. 8. In California During The Gulf War , Denise Levertov
  9. 9. Lessons Of The War , Henry Reed
  10. 10. War Some More , Sandra Osborne
  11. 11. Do Not Weep, Maiden, For War Is Kind , Stephen Crane
  12. 12. Two Poems From The War , Archibald MacLeish
  13. 13. A Meditation In Time Of War , William Butler Yeats
  14. 14. On Receiving News Of The War , Isaac Rosenberg
  15. 15. Meditations In Time Of Civil War , William Butler Yeats
  16. 16. Nefarious War , Li Po
  17. 17. Repression Of War Experience , Siegfried Sassoon
  18. 18. On Being Asked For A War Poem , William Butler Yeats
  19. 19. War Music [down On Your Knees, Achilles] , Christopher Logue
  20. 20. Spring In War Time , Sara Teasdale
  21. 21. Memorial Day For The War Dead , Yehuda Amichai
  22. 22. The Next War , Robert Graves
  23. 23. War Of The Worlds , john tiong chunghoo
  24. 24. Woman And War , Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  25. 25. Sonnet 46: Mine Eye And Heart Are At A M.. , William Shakespeare
  26. 26. War Profit Litany , Allen Ginsberg
  27. 27. War-Music , Henry Van Dyke
  28. 28. Dusk In War Time , Sara Teasdale
  29. 29. At The War Office, London (Affixing The .. , Thomas Hardy
  30. 30. To Lucasta On Going To The War - For The.. , Robert Graves
  31. 31. War...War...War... , joe yourmom
  32. 32. Song-Books Of The War , Siegfried Sassoon
  33. 33. War Song , John Davidson
  34. 34. At The War Office, London. , Thomas Hardy
  35. 35. The War Films , Sir Henry Newbolt
  36. 36. A Date With An Anti-War Protester , Chuck Audette
  37. 37. The Holy War , Rudyard Kipling
  38. 38. There Was Crimson Clash Of War. , Stephen Crane
  39. 39. On A Line From Valéry (The Gulf War) , Carolyn Kizer
  40. 40. War Song , Thomas Moore
  41. 41. - Love Is War! , Ronberge (anno primo)
  42. 42. Man's Civil War , Robert Southwell
  43. 43. Tell Brave Deeds Of War , Stephen Crane
  44. 44. War , Charles Wagner
  45. 45. Fortune Of War , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  46. 46. They Gave Us A War That Nobody Wanted , Patrick O'Donnell
  47. 47. War And Peace , Franklin Pierce Adams
  48. 48. A Radical War Song , Thomas Babbington Macaulay
  49. 49. Declaration Of War , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  50. 50. The Ashantee War , William Topaz McGonagall
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