The following Poetry was written during the war, dates and the poets names are given where known:
By Humbert Wolfe in The Observer
It darkens. In the marsh the Goth and Vandal
Have set their camp-fire burning.
Half-hushed, the loud abominable scandal of death that flies by night.
Hell’s at the gates.
Who mans the gate? Already the dreadful hand
Has loosened the bolt: the battle-flags unfurled
Begin to taint the wind. Answer, who stand
To make their breast the rampart of the world?
Who stands at the gate? What answer, Englishmen?
We answer, waiting not on how or why,
“We are here, freedom Grant us once again
The will to suffer, and the right to die.”
The Free Peoples Rise
By Ernest Raymond in The Sunday Times
We were late upon our feet, because our limbs and will were free
And none could make us stand and arm, but those who made us see;
But now we see the menace in the quiet summer sky;
We stand, the men the ages freed, to order our reply;
We tarried in our standing; so be it; that was best.
For we, so free to rise at will, shall be the last to rest.
We take our past upon us, and the burden of its fame.
Our past has called its mortgage in, and we shall meet the claim.
The future had foreclosed on us. It calls for our arrears;
Ten thousand voices call for them from out ten thousand years;
And we, the freemen, answer, “Peace. The hour is overdue;
We’re risen for your ransom; we come; and are not few.”
Fathers and Sons
Louis N Parker in The Times
Comrades, though no bugle sound,
Though you hear no tramp of feet,
Feel no shaking of the ground,
Nor the drum’s inspiring beat,
We, who marched the selfsame way,
Long ago in Manhood’s pride,
We are with you here today,
Marching at your side.
We are nought and less than nought,
Airy shapes you cannot see,
Shadows of a wistful thought,
Waifs of waning memory:
You, the sons of tragic years,
Had no father’s hand to guide,
We, while you were born in tears,
Fought for you, and died,
Now the love you never knew
Round your hears its yearning pours,
We, your fathers, watch you,
Send our spirits into yours;
Ah, fulfil what we began,
Thrust the gates of Freedom wide!
With your fathers to a man
Marching as your side.
The Crooked Cross
By Gilbert Frankau in the Daily Mail, 1939
This is the time of our testing;
Now, whilst his words still run
Hither and thither, unresting:
“Grant by my victory won,
Grant but my new battle-stations –
These lands where I ravaged and slew –
And I will grant peace to all nations.”
Shall the crooked cross conquer the True?
Shall we palter and falter, forgiving
Each wrong he has done to mankind?
Then, indeed, were we soft with good living,
Then, indeed, were we blind, and purblind,
And false to all troths that we plighted –
Our old dead betrayed with our new –
And all hope for humanity blighted,
Shall the Crooked Cross wave o’er the True?
Must the nations whose watchword is Freedom
Give ear to the cunning of Force,
While the jackboot still tramples o’er Edom,
While the Shape on the Skeleton Horse
Still grins at the work of its master –
These corpses the bombs rent and blew?
What were peace, in such case, but disaster?
Shall the Crooked Cross haul down the True?