War Poetry


The war produced a wide range of powerful feelings.

Some people reacted by writing poetry as a way to express these new feelings. Many poems were written during and about the war, and became very famous.

Looking at the poems written at that time can sometimes help us better understand the experience of war. Lots of schools teach war poems in English and History lessons.

War Poets

One of the most famous war poets was a man called Wilfred Owen, and his most famous poem is called ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, which is a Latin phrase meaning ‘it is sweet and right.’

Wilfred Owen

Other famous war poets include Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, Robert Graves and Charles Sorley. Each of them wrote many poems.


Some people who wrote war poems were not soldiers, but people at home, such as Rudyard Kipling (the author of The Jungle Book), Vera Brittain, Thomas Hardy and Charlotte Mew.


Some of the most common themes of war poetry are as follows:







Brotherhood and friendship




Here is an example of a short poem to get you thinking:

What is the secret-the secret

That lies at the heart of it all-

The surge of the stars, the cry of the wind,

And the beat of the sea,

And the surge and the cry, and the beat of the soul in me?

~Leslie Coulson~

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