World War 2 poems • Objective – to read, discuss and write own poems, based on poems written during World War 2.
Lesson 1 Read the following examples of World War 2 poems. Discuss each, using the questions that follow the poems.
SKIES ABOVE - Author Unknown Day in, day out, that same routine We dream of home, of those we love We dream of food, of drink and song We dream of flights in skies above. Someday, someday, we will return To all those things we’re dreaming of To all those things so dear to us And frequent flights in skies above. Day in, Day out that same routine A man’s dreams and that's of love There’ll be no flak or fighters up When we fly again in skies above. Why do you think the author is unknown? What type/style of poem is this? Who are the `voices` in the poem? How do you know? Look at the last two lines. What is `flak` and `fighters`? (see next slide for answer)
RAF Flak Jacket The first usage of the term refers to the armour originally developed by the Wilkinson Sword company during World War II to help protect Royal Air Force (RAF) air personnel from the flying debris and shrapnel thrown by Germananti-aircraft guns' flak (Fliegerabwehrkanone), a type of exploding shell.
Anon By an unknown prisoner, written on the wall of his solitary cell. The poem was taken from the book, Prisoner of War: My Secret Journal, by Squadron Leader B. Arct. You know there is a saying That sunshine follows rain, And sure enough you'll realize That joy will follow pain; Let courage be your password Make fortitude your guide, And then instead of grousing Remember those who died. What is the mood of this poem? How does it make you feel? What do you understand about where it was discovered? What image do you have of that room and the conditions the prisoner lived under? What is a prisoner of war? P.T. O.
What words, images or phrases of hope are contained in the poem? What is meant by `fortitude?` What about `grousing?` What message is the prisoner trying to give at the end?
My Buddy (Dedicated to Mike Shanley who gave his life ditching on his 6th mission)
At the bottom of the poem, it says – dedicated to… What does this mean? Read the first verse again. What is the mood of the poet in this verse? What is his opinion of `glory?` What does he mean by…`then glory's not for me?` Verse 2 – What was `the briefing room?` Verse 3 – What does he mean by `..he sought not glory nor fame?` Verse 4 – What has the poet done to `death?` How has he used the word? How do you think the poet feels at the end? What emotions does he feel about his friend's death?
A traditional rhyme from the north Country I never raised my boy to be a soldier I brought him up to be my pride and joy. Who dares to lay a gun upon his shoulder, And teach him how to kill another mother's boy. I never raised my boy to be a soldier. I brought him up to stay at home with me. There would be no war today, if every mother would say I never raised my boy to be a soldier. Whose `voice` is in the poem? What style of poem is it? What is the overall message in the poem? What is your opinion of this message? Do you agree or disagree? Vote first, then split into two teams – agree/disagree. Spend 5-10 minutes in these groups preparing a debate to present to the other side.
Lesson 2 – War rhymes created for children's games… Cultures and periods in history will often show what is going on at the time in many different ways, for example through song lyrics, games played, movies made, fashion etc. During World War 2, children often played games which allowed them to express their feelings about what they were experiencing at the time. In this lesson, you will read a playground rhyme that children used to chant during skipping games. In small groups you will make up your own skipping rhymes or chants, based on the World War 2 theme and perform them.
Read and discuss the following children`s skipping chants… Chant 1 Underneath the churchyard, six feet deep, There lies Hitler fast asleep, All the little mice come and tickle his feet, `Neath the churchyard, six feet deep. Chant 2 Who`s that knocking at the window? Who`s that knocking at the door? If it`s Hitler, let him in And we`ll sit him on a pin, And we won`t see Hitler any more.
What do you think about the words in the chants? Do you think they are suitable for a children`s game? How do you think using these words in a game might help the children to express their feelings about what was going on in their lives? Work in small groups to write other skipping chants with a World War 2 theme. Consider the rhythm and rhyme as well as the lyrics. You could make one up about evacuees, the Blitz, rationing or any other World War 2 topic. Perform them with skipping ropes.
Lesson 3 – War and Peace. In this lesson you will read a poem about war and peace and use it as a model for writing your own.
The following poem was written by a 12 year old boy. Read and discuss it, then use it as a model for writing your own war and peace poem, showing the contrast between the two… War is full of people dying, War is full of relatives crying, Peace makes people happy, not sad, Things like Peace are good, not bad. War is dismal, dark and bloody, In trenches deep, but small and muddy. Peace is beautiful, quiet and clean, When people are kind, no one is mean.
War is terrible, no matter what kind, Peace is a lot nicer, I`m sure you`ll find. Peace and happiness come hand in hand, Sparkling and golden like the desert sand. Peace and joy are like a team, Each one like a bright sunbeam. What images does the poet use to describe war? Are they successful? Can you think of any other images to describe war? Use metaphor and simile to help your ideas. What about the images of peace. You may have different images of what peace means to you. Again use simile and metaphor to help your ideas. P.T.O.
When you are ready you can write your poems. You do not have to make it rhyme or do it in different verses – it is up to you. The main focus will be your images of both war and peace, showing how they contrast with each other. Illustrate your poem when you have finished.