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.
    0 person did not like.
  • 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 - 3,696 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. The Next War , Wilfred Owen
  3. 3. Love And War , Ovid
  4. 4. A Prayer In Time Of War , Alfred Noyes
  5. 5. War Is Never Over , Cecil L. Harrison
  6. 6. Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War , Margaret Atwood
  7. 7. From A German War Primer , Bertolt Brecht
  8. 8. War Some More , Sandra Osborne
  9. 9. In California During The Gulf War , Denise Levertov
  10. 10. Lessons Of The War , Henry Reed
  11. 11. Do Not Weep, Maiden, For War Is Kind , Stephen Crane
  12. 12. Nefarious War , Li Po
  13. 13. Repression Of War Experience , Siegfried Sassoon
  14. 14. Meditations In Time Of Civil War , William Butler Yeats
  15. 15. Two Poems From The War , Archibald MacLeish
  16. 16. A Meditation In Time Of War , William Butler Yeats
  17. 17. On Receiving News Of The War , Isaac Rosenberg
  18. 18. On Being Asked For A War Poem , William Butler Yeats
  19. 19. Spring In War Time , Sara Teasdale
  20. 20. Sonnet 46: Mine Eye And Heart Are At A M.. , William Shakespeare
  21. 21. War Of The Worlds , john tiong chunghoo
  22. 22. Woman And War , Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  23. 23. War Music [down On Your Knees, Achilles] , Christopher Logue
  24. 24. Memorial Day For The War Dead , Yehuda Amichai
  25. 25. The Next War , Robert Graves
  26. 26. War-Music , Henry Van Dyke
  27. 27. Song-Books Of The War , Siegfried Sassoon
  28. 28. Dusk In War Time , Sara Teasdale
  29. 29. The War Films , Sir Henry Newbolt
  30. 30. War Profit Litany , Allen Ginsberg
  31. 31. At The War Office, London (Affixing The .. , Thomas Hardy
  32. 32. To Lucasta On Going To The War - For The.. , Robert Graves
  33. 33. War...War...War... , joe yourmom
  34. 34. War Song , John Davidson
  35. 35. At The War Office, London. , Thomas Hardy
  36. 36. War Song , Thomas Moore
  37. 37. They Gave Us A War That Nobody Wanted , Patrick O'Donnell
  38. 38. The Holy War , Rudyard Kipling
  39. 39. - Love Is War! , Ronberge (anno primo)
  40. 40. Man's Civil War , Robert Southwell
  41. 41. Tell Brave Deeds Of War , Stephen Crane
  42. 42. War , Charles Wagner
  43. 43. There Was Crimson Clash Of War. , Stephen Crane
  44. 44. Fortune Of War , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  45. 45. A Date With An Anti-War Protester , Chuck Audette
  46. 46. A Radical War Song , Thomas Babbington Macaulay
  47. 47. Declaration Of War , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  48. 48. The Ashantee War , William Topaz McGonagall
  49. 49. War Torn , James Mills
  50. 50. On A Line From Valéry (The Gulf War) , Carolyn Kizer
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