The Best War Poems

How poetry helps us understand war

Grave Stones

Poetry often lingers on thoughts of mortality, and nowhere is this more poignant than in the words of the war poets, many of whom themselves did not survive. Until the First World War, poems about warfare gloried in the nobility of the cause, conduct or sacrifice. Perhaps Brooke's famous verse is the last expression of this sentiment, as the mass slaughter of Flanders exposed a generation of poets to a different vision of what war amounted to. Here, we recall some of the English language's most famous poems about war.