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World War 2 poetry

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by MichaelBully, Nov 9, 2016.

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  1. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    Encouraged to see one of our talented young poets of today -Owen Shears ' has written a play about the life of Keith Douglas 'Unicorns, Almost' , and due to be performed at the Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival from 25th May 2018- 7th June 2018

    THE PLAY


    " UNICORNS, ALMOST is a new one–man play about the life and work of World War II poet Keith Douglas. John Retallack will direct thepremiere in Hay-on-Wye in May 2018.

    UNICORNS, ALMOST tells the life story of Keith Douglas from his childhood idolising an absent father, through four engagements to marry, his fighting in the Western desert as a tank commander, his accelerated education as a poet to his early death three days after the D-Day landings in Normandy at the age of just 24....."

    continues .....UNICORNS, ALMOST
     
  2. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    My Mila Street
    by Sara Rosenfeld

    Written on July 8, 1997.
    Translated by Zalmen (Tzvi) Rosenfeld.

    Sara Rosenfeld was a holocaust survivor from the Warsaw Ghetto.
    Mila Street was one of the most neglected street in Warsaw, populated mostly by desperately poor people.

    Mila 61, my street, my home
    Where I never had any dolls,
    I only played in the courtyard
    With broken glass
    And toys kneaded from clay.

    A big courtyard
    On three sides, large buildings,
    In every house, a Jewish household
    Worrying, laboring,
    Each with its own matters.

    My yard had a stop
    For carriages and horses
    And we would gather straws
    From the footpaths
    And play with them on the ground.

    No grass grew in the yard,
    So on Shabbes we’d go with our mother
    To the Krasinski garden
    To catch some fresh air
    And listen to Jews discussing
    What’s been going on in the world.

    My childhood is bound up with Mila,
    My Jewish school stood on Mila 51,
    There Nosn would take me, or mother,
    Later I would go there to sing
    In Gladstein’s Tsukunft choir
    And still later go to my sweetheart Hershl
    When love kindled in us.

    For he lived on Mila number 36.
    His mother was hearty and quiet;
    Working on fur in the kitchen with his brother Shmilke,
    Hershl would turn out fur coats
    As fast as a whirlwind,
    And near her sons, his mother
    Felt herself so safe …

    Until came the Khurbn
    And my Mila became famous
    Mila 18 is famed in the literature,
    But who speaks for Mila’s other numbers,
    They went into the cipher of six million,

    My father who cut his own throat,
    My brothers, my sister
    With her golden girl Libele,
    My sister-in-law Manye with her
    Blue-eyed boy Yankele
    My mother-in-law, her beautiful grandchildren,
    Who talks about them, gevald!

    I write these words
    With blood and not with tears
    How can I forget my Mila
    With all its people, its children
    For whom I was ready
    To give my life,
    And would do so even now.

    But all is gone with the smoke,
    Yet still all stand alive
    Before my eyes,
    Mila Street that brought me up,
    My home, Hershl’s home, my school.
    I need only strength,
    Though I am not frum,
    I ask you, God, give me strength!
     
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  3. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    That's an incredible poem . Thank you for posting. I can't find any information about Sara Rosenfeld . She doesn't even get an entry in the Jewish Women's Archive.

    Jewish Women's Archive |

    When I return to a blogpost about The Warsaw Ghetto poets, probably will cover Wladyslaw Szlengel .

    Found a superb website about him - WLADYSLAW SZLENGEL, THE GHETTO POET

    Regards
    Michael Bully
     
  4. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    Blog updated with post about RAF serving poet Thomas Rahilley Hodgson , killed whilst out flying on the morning of 17th May 1941 . A posthumous collection of his work ' This Life This Death' , was published in 1943
    http://Worldwar2poetry.blogspot.co.uk

    I am working on a longer piece on Hodgson : Only seven of his published poems can really be called 'war poetry' so might as well type out them all.
     
  5. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    Have been updating the World War 2 poetry blog with the first of three posts about Lieutenant Sidney Keyes, who was killed in action in Tunisia in 1943, a month before his 21st birthday.

    Also working on a post about German Jewish poet Nelly Sachs who fled to Sweden in 1940.

    Trying to keep a balance between European and British poetry. Could fill the blog with posts about German poets such as Peter Huchel and Johanes Bobrowski but there is not a great deal of interest in their work at present.

    Suggestions for further poets of any nationality are welcome.


    Worldwar2poetry.blogspot.co.uk
     
  6. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    Blog finally updated with a feature on German Jewish poet and Nelly Sachs who fled to Sweden 1940, looking at her poem 'Chorus of the Rescued ' Nelly Sachs became a Swedish citizen. As well as becoming a relatively successful poet, she also translated German poetry into Swedish and wrote a play. In 1966 she was joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and died in Stockholm in 1970.

    Worldwar2poetry.blogspot.co.uk

    Suggestions for further poets of any nationality most welcome. I am currently looking at the war poetry of Zbigniew Herbert ( 1924-1998), who served in the Polish Resistance.
     
  7. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    Her story can be found here. I think her daughter will be delighted someone remembers her mother.
     
  8. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    World War 2 poetry blog updated with a post about Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, whose work took in the most crucial happenings of the 20th century ,from World War 1 onward until her death in 1966. I gather that her most famous poem is 'Requiem' about those who had loved ones imprisoned in the Soviet Labour Camps.

    Here is one of her poems from a cycle titled 'The Winds of War' about the opening of the siege of Leningrad.

    Worldwar2poetry.blogspot.co.uk

    FIRST LONG-RANGE FIRING ON LENINGRAD


    And people's colourful daily round

    Suddenly changed drastically

    But this was not a city sound,

    Not one heard in the villages.

    It resembled a distant peal of thunder

    As closely as one brother resembles another,

    But in thunder there's the moisture,

    Of cool cloud towers

    And the yearning of the meadows-

    For the news of joyous showers,

    But this was like scorching heat, dry,

    And we didn't want to believe

    The rumour we heard-because of

    How it grew and multiplied,

    Because of how indifferently

    It brought death to my child.


    September 1941
     
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  9. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    I am re-writing original World War 2 poetry blog post, have read quite a lot more about Anna Akhmotova's life since started the original post.
    Have also embarked on a longer article on the World War Poetry – Poems & Poets from the Great War at Sea & World War II site with Lucy London from the 'Female Poets of the First World War' blog . Broadly speaking Lucy London covers Anna Akhmatova's life and work in the pre-revolutionary era and World War 1 into the Russian Revolution, and I carry on as it were.
    Anna Akhmatova – a joint piece from Lucy London and Michael Bully – World War Poetry
     
  10. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    Have updated World War 2 poetry blog with a post about RAF intelligence officer John Pudney who wrote the famous poem 'For Johnny' that was used in the film 'The Way To The Stars'

    Worldwar2poetry.blogspot.co.uk

    EDIT Here is a clip of 'For Johnny' being read in said film



    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  11. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    more:

    Separated from the world by barbed wire,
    We’re rounded up from everywhere
    The longing woven into our hearts,
    Throbs like a ringing bell.

    You with the striped rag on your back,
    Could you forget who you are - and where?
    They stitched a number to your breast,
    A red triangle and the letter “P”.

    And your shaved head reminds you,
    Of your burden of sins unknown,
    And you yearn for the day
    When your will and your purpose return.

    Neither stars nor sun brings you happiness,
    Neither day nor night yields joy.
    You stand and wait, dressed in stripes and shaved bare;
    With thousands of others like you.

    The words of this song are stained with our blood,
    Within them are sorrow and grief,
    Yet your camp song will carry beyond these barbed wires
    To a distant place unknown to you.

    Yet your camp song will carry beyond these barbed wires
    To a distant place unknown to you.
    Written by Zbigniew Koczanowicz in April 1945 at Falkensee, a subcamp of KL Sachsenhausen


    O, God who art in heaven
    Dispense your justice
    We call upon you from foreign lands
    for a Polish home and Polish arms.
    Oh, God, do crush this sword that slashed our country
    Grant us a return to liberated Poland
    Which will be a stronghold of the new might
    Our home, our country.

    Oh, Lord God, hear our lamentations
    Oh hear our forsaken singing
    From the Warta, the Vistula, the San, the Bug
    The blood of your martyrs calls unto you.
    Oh, God, do crush this sword that slashed our country
    written by Adam Kowalski in 1940 at Balș interment camp, Romania
     
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  12. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    Thank you very wm, excellent poems I will read over them a few more times
    . I visited Sachsenhausen Camp a few years ago. I am trying to place Falkensee.

    I have updated my website with a a longer post about RAF poet Thomas Rahilley Hodgson -known as T.R. Hodgson - who died in action 17th May 1941. He had no known grave so named with other similar RAF pilots on the Runnymede Memorial., Surrey.

    A local artist, Alexander Johnson, kindly let me use his images: He has worked along with photographer John Brockliss on the Deanland Project Artistic tribute to D-Day airfield, focusing on an airfield used in D Day preparations near Hailsham, Sussex

    Thomas Rahilley Hodgson – World War Poetry
     
  13. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    Blog has been updated looking at the life and poetry of Timothy Corsellis , who died in a flying accident serving with the Air Transport Auxiliary, aged 20 http://Worldwar2poetry.blogspot.co.uk.

    Have drawn on the War Poets Association website page on Corsellis http://www.warpoets.org/…/worl…/timothy-corsellis-1921-1941/

    Have also added a link to actor Timothy Bentinck reading Corsellis' poem 'Dawn After the Raid'. Tim Bentinck- most know in Britain as David Archer in the BBC radio drama 'The Archers'- was named after Timothy Corsellis.

     
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  14. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    Another one, the well known and influential Bayonet On by Władysław Broniewski, written four months before the ww2.

    When they come to burn your home,
    where you live - Poland,
    when they throw their thunderbolt
    when they fall in combat
    and against your doors they thud
    with wooden barrels stained with blood,
    you, awaken late at night
    quit your bed.
    Stand and fight!
    Shoot them dead!

    Since this country's bill of wrongs
    foreign hand cannot repeal,
    drain red blood from breasts and songs,
    end your homeland's long ordeal.
    What if Poland's prison bread
    stings the tongue with bitter taste?
    Put a bullet in their heads
    for attacking what's not theirs.

    Blazemaster of word and heart,
    Now a poem is a trench
    erase the sadness from your art,
    and shout, and order, and command:
    "shoot them dead!"

    Shoot them dead!
    and even if it's our last day,
    remember what Cambronne once said.
    We will say these words again.
     
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  15. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    That's great wm. Thank you for sharing. One strand of poem that have been looking at is war poetry that anticipates World War 2. This look like being a prime example.
    I presume that 'Cambronne' was the French general from the Napoleonic era?
    Also wondering if there is a collection of Bronwieski 's poetry translated into English. So far I can only books in Polish and German .

    I have updated my blog to look at the work of the Irish poet Sean Jennett, who lived in London during World War 2 and afterwards. One of the forgotten poets of the 1940's.

    Worldwar2poetry.blogspot.co.uk

    Regards
    Michael Bully
     
  16. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  17. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    Just discovered this website :Holocaust Poetry from the Yiddish - Poetry in Hell

    Describes itself thus
    "Poetry in Hell is a web site dedicated to the poets, both in the Warsaw Ghetto and elsewhere whose poetry, under the leadership of Emanuel Ringelblum, was secretly collected by the members of the “Oneg Shabbat Society“, preserved and buried in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation.

    The efforts of the Oneg Shabbat Society were to document life in the ghetto for future generations. The poetry in this website was found postwar, burried in milk cans and photographed onto microfiche by the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland in conjunction with support from the United States Holocaust Museum. I am grateful to both of these institutions for making these documents and the microfiche available to me for translation to English."

    Some fascinating work on this website. One poet that want to read up on is Shmuel Marvil whose work is on this website

    Shmuel Marvil: The Street | Poetry in Hell
     
  18. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    Have updated the blog to feature 'London Before Invasion 1940' by Glasgow born poet J.F.Hendry, written in 1940. J.F. Hendry was consider a leading light of the short lived New Apocalypse poetry movement, along with Henry Treece, that was active from 1939-1943, and influenced the Romanticism of British 1940's. J.F Hendry served in the army Intelligence Corp .

    WorldWar2poetry

    London Before Invasion


    " Walls and buildings stand here still, like shells.
    Hold them to the ear. There are no echoes even
    Of the seas that once were. That tide is out
    Beyond the valleys and hills.

    Days dawn and die while the city assumes a distance of stars.
    It is the absence of the heart
    In the ebbing seas of heaven,
    An ebbing beyond laughter and too tense for tears.

    Now, imagination floats, a weed, on water's vacancy.
    Fates of women, lit with conscience of stone features.
    Flowers have a girl's irrelevance, and mind is no
    prescience.

    Flood-tides returning may bring with them blood and fire,
    Blenching with wet panic spirit that must be rock
    May being a future tossed and torn, as slippery as wrack,
    All time adrift in torrents of blind war. "
     
  19. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    Well, that "with support from the United States Holocaust Museum" is stolen valor, the Ringelblum Archive was discovered and photographed almost fifty years before the USHM was created. To this day it was published only in Polish.
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Hardly "stolen valor". Just what support they supported may be in question or even that they any support was provided but that doesn't by any means it was "stolen valor" as the term is currently used. The fact that there are English translations on the web site also suggest that the "only in Polish" part is wrong as well.

    *** edit for ***
    This page goes into a bit more detail on who did what:
    Site Credits | Poetry in Hell
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019

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