Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Soldier - Rupert Brooke

Rupert Brooke is one of the less bitter of the World War I poets -- his poetry has a certain sorrow to it, but tends to lack the harshness of many of his comrades.  There is certainly a place for harsher war poetry (and I plan to share some of it here) -- one could argue that it is more authentic and meaningful -- but Brooke deserves respect for the beauty of his work as well.  This one -- structured as a sonnet -- conveys a rather wistful patriotism.

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

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