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British War Poetry

Edmund_Blunden

EDMUND BLUNDEN (1896-1974)

The first poem by Edmund Blunden that I illustrated is called “Trench Raid near Hooge”. In six stanzas and four scenes, it describes a trench raid in the morning: the break of day (1), the battle (2 and 3), the impression of an imaginary observer (4), and the death (5 and 6).

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1. Rosy-fingered Morning

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blunden_03

2. Rosy Fingers

3. False Thunders

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4.The Last Appealing

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5. The New Deforming of Earth

6. Indifferent

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"Trenches in the moonlight, in the lulling moonlight"

Edmund Blunden's second poem that I illustrated is called "Illusions". It brought me associations with a nocturnal landscape at war, photographed from an airplane. One detail was zoomed in on: it shows us a bombarded trench.

alec_waugh

ALEC WAUGH (1898-1981)

"From Albert to Bapaume"

"Lonely and Bare and Desolate"

The triptych from 1994 was originally called "No man's land". It shows the desolation of a devastated landscape with a dead tree and a shell crater – the same atmosphere as evoked in the Alec Waugh poem: "From Albert to Bapaume".

triptych by Waugh
Robert_graves

ROBERT GRAVES (1895-1985)

"Recalling War"
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"Discord"

The poem "Recalling War" by Robert Graves, inspired me to make a special relief: a picture in a chessboard in an open book. Two pairs of sickles are put on either side, symbolizing the hostile, implacable logic of the two enemies. The horizontal lines of the chessboard are shaped by four very meaningful verses, "What, then, was war? No mere discord of flags/ But an infection of the common sky/ That sagged ominously upon the earth/ Even when the season was the airiest May." The vertical lines are shaped by repetition of the word "Discord".

WILFRED OWEN (1893-1918)

"The Parable of the Old Man and the Young"
owen_01

"Burnt Offering"

The copper relief about Wilfred Owen's poem "The Parable of the Old Man and the Young", tells the biblical story of the burnt offering of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22: 1-9), transposed into the First World War. In contrast with Abraham, the generals in 14/18 have no compassion with their soldiers and send them to their death.

ISAAC ROSENBERG (1890-1918)

"Break of Day in the Tranches"
taratien

"Taratien"

The poem by Isaac Rosenberg "Break of Day in the Trenches" tells the story of a soldier in a trench, who wants to pick a poppy. Instead of finding the flower, his hand touches a rat. Next, he ponders about the way this rat will see the war, how it is reflected in his eyes…Taratien (I gave it that name) looks terrifying in her barbed wire coat.