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The War Poetry Website

The war poetry website is a resource of war poems of the First World War and more recent conflicts  -  especially the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan. Many poems are used in Remembrance events  -  the classic poems and poems by contemporary service personnel. Students of First World War poetry will find the biographical information especially on Wilfred Owen particularly useful. Guide to war poetry books.

Soldiers lift fallen comrade, sculpture
Head, close-up, memorial sculpture

National Memorial Arboretum sculpture, Alrewas, UK

F16 jet jpeg.jpg

The Pilot's Testament

A war poem by David Roberts about the moral implications of service personnel obeying orders to carry out lethal action, and the media and general public's perception of those actions. Published by Saxon Books in Kosovo War Poetry

I seek no glory.
I bear no anger.
I hate no man.  

I do the unspeakable
on behalf of the ungrateful.
I bomb targets chosen by others.

I have surrendered my will
to a higher authority.
I trust the cause to be right
and the methods appropriate.
There is no place for questioning.
There can be no other way.

I do my duty.
You can rely on me.
I will not let you down.

Though my task may be dangerous,
neither fear nor doubt
will prevent me.

Consider me.
Physically and mentally
my ability is exceptional.
My judgement and reflexes
are trained to perfection.
I am chosen from the elite,
the very best.
Many accord me
great respect.

I possess power beyond imagination.
Like a god I roar through the heavens,
the earth beneath me,
the whole of creation
available to me,
awaiting my quick shot
of death and destruction.

My victims are unaware of me.
I am unaware of my victims.

They go about their lives
not knowing only a few seconds remain.

We are arriving
at the appointed time and place.

At a touch I fix their fate.

Moments later,
in mid conversation,
a flash,
and they are gone.

I cannot pretend it was difficult

Their will was done,
and I, merely an instrument of death.
I did my duty,
but I accept no guilt.

I come down to earth
as a man among men,
unmarked, unrecognised,
unremarkable, unnoticed:
I easily blend.

I am not available for comment.
I am not an item of news.
The story is elsewhere.

I return to my family
as if nothing has happened.

Poem from Kosovo War Poetry. published by Saxon Books

More poems by David Roberts can be found here.

Saxon Books has specialised in war poetry for over 25 years

War poetry and remembrance titles published by Saxon Books are now available direct at reduced prices


The Books 

  • Minds at War - the largest anthology of poetry of the First World War  -  with a wealth of background information. (Illustrated)

  • Out in the Dark  -  a collection of First World War poems in context and with basic notes (Illustrated)

  • Falklands War Poetry

  • French Poems of the Great War

  • Cockerels and Vultures poems by a French First World War poet

  • Remembrance Poems and Readings

  • Kosovo War Poetry

Cover of Minds at War poetry anthology

Also on this warpoetry website

Poems of the First World War

Our First World War section includes some of the most famous war poems of all time by Wilfred Owen and others. The basic notes provided with some of these poems will be useful for students.

25 First World War poets 

Short accounts of their lives, but with fascinating additional details on Wilfred Owen and one or two other poets. 
Don't miss the links at the top of the page, above the red boxes  -  including dropdown menus with many more topics.

Edward Thomas drawing of
Rupert Brooke drawing of
Thomas Hardy portrait

Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke and Thomas Hardy, just three of the poets that you can find biographical information about on this website.

Field of poppies by David Roberts

Well-known Remembrance Poems, and Remembrance Poems by Living Servicemen

Remembrance Poems

Cover of 120 page book of remembrance poems
soldiers carry coffin of camrade, photo

Modern War Poetry

The modern war poems found on this website are mainly by men and women with first hand experience in wars of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. They include poems of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Falklands, Vietnam, Africa and the Israel/Palestine conflict. Some of these poems may be found in the Remembrance section of this website.

Some modern war poems are by men and women affected by war or concerned about its affects.  Click here to view list of modern war poetry sections links.

Portrait of Wilfred Owen
John Lavery's painting, First Wounded

The first wounded - John Lavery's painting. One of dozens of original First World War paintings to be found in We Are The Dead, edited by David Roberts.

The drop-down menus from the menu bar across the top of the page offer dozens of pages of war poetry and information about poets and background to the poems.


Choosing war poetry books

Falklands War
2 April 1982 - 14 June 1982
Britain saves the Falkland Islands from the Argentinian Invasion

40th Anniversary 2022

This was a short war but closely fought war with a devastating impact on the lives of many servicemen and their families. A number of these men wrote poetry at the time and shortly after the war. Poems by three of them appear on this website. There are far more poems by British servicemen, Falkland Islanders, and Argentinians in the Falklands War Poetry collection. 

Falklands soldiers struggle in cold and wetsoldiers
Falklands-wounded soldier carried ashore
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