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Remembrance Poems and Readings

Edited by
David Roberts

More information about this collection of poems and readings for Remembrance Day and Peace Events



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Remembrance poems of hope and survival

The paper dove

Its soft white feathers flutter in the wind,

Gliding gently over fields

And countries torn by war,

It has no idea of the fighting below,

Its soft white feathers flutter in the wind,

Its eyes are heavy,

Visions lie heavy in its mind,

The poppy fields glide past,

Its soft white feathers flutter in the wind,

They feel the blasts,

The pain,

The black mass that engulfs the men,

Its soft white feathers flutter in the wind,

Children crying for their fathers,

After reading letters of loss,

The endless sombre parades,

Its soft white feathers flutter in the wind,

Love lies underneath,

Blood red poppies scattered below,

The folded feathers float onto the poppy fields.

Its soft white feathers flutter in the wind,

Launched by a child, off mountains high,

Watched by millions,

A peace spreader,

A hope bringer,

Only soft white paper feathers fall in the wind,

From The Paper Dove.


Age 14 (2010)

Heckmondwike Grammar School

Yorkshire, UK

Published here with the permission of his parents.


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About Making or Breaking

New Year's Eve was approaching and I thought of the dawning of a new century, as Thomas Hardy had done one hundred years earlier. This poem was in part inspired by the first pictures of the earth taken from space. In the simplest possible terms the poem Making or Breaking sets out the choice before each of us. There is more information about this poem on the Kosovo page of this website in the Modern War Poetry section.

Making or breaking

We inherit the world,

the whole of history,

our place on earth,

our place in time,

our fortune, good or bad,

pure chance.


in one picture,

we see our entire planet:

one world,

one race,

one future,

bound together

for the first time.



for the breaking

or making.

David Roberts

12 December 1999

Making or Breaking has been set to music by Norwegian classical composer, Kim André Arnesen, for performance by a choir with saxophone accompaniment. Premiere in Denver, Colorado, 2016. The poem is from the book, Kosovo War Poetry.

Alternative version of the poem entitled There will be no peace.

There Will Be Peace

There will be peace:

when attitudes change;

when self-interest is seen as part of common interest;

when old wrongs, old scores, old mistakes

are deleted from the account;

when the aim becomes co-operation and mutual benefit

rather than revenge or seizing maximum personal or group gain;

when justice and equality before the law

become the basis of government;

when basic freedoms exist;

when leaders - political, religious, educational - and the police and media

wholeheartedly embrace the concepts of justice, equality, freedom, tolerance, and reconciliation as a basis for renewal;

when parents teach their children new ways to think about people.

There will be peace:

when enemies become fellow human beings.

David Roberts


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Ode to a snowdrop during wartime

Fragile flower, hiding your tender purity

In the green shrouds of unborn daffodils;

Tentative symbol of the ultimate surety,

Of Spring, you bring

A waft of beauty to these derelict hills.

Here is mud ! A sticky, filthy, foul morass,

Churned by marching men and wheels endlessly turning;

Where once were flowers and trees, soft dew-moist grass

And mossy banks - now tanks

Trundle noisily through, and the woods are burning.

And yet, I know the vibrant life that lies

Deep in defoliated trees, small flower;

All of Summer's sweetness soon to rise,

The drift, the lift

Eternally, now in your loneliest hour.

Namur King

St Paul's

(London May 11th 1941)

I walked to Ludgate Hill down from the Strand,

By broken beauty of a City’s shattered breast;

Where streets, tradition-steeped, were piled

With debris; where men fought fire to wrest,

From fiercest hate, the fragments of a grand

And glorious heritage; untiring men, who smiled.

I saw St. Clements Dane, and thought of Spring,

Of fashionable weddings and decades now done;

But smouldering walls and empty aisles were hushed

With silence of rebuke for splendour gone;

From ruined pews lost echoes seemed to ring

With peals of praise, but ravished bells lay crushed.

Then, poised out of chaos and this Dantesque dream,

Shrouded by smoke, the high familiar dome,

Splendidly proud above the crumbling walls

And devastation, the symbol of our Home,

And Britain’s faith and effort, shone supreme,

An edifice of glory, old St. Pauls.

Namur King

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Prayer for Remembrance Day

For those who were killed in battle,

For those who gave up their lives to save others

For those who fought because they were forced to,

For those who died standing up for a just cause

For those who said war was wrong,

For those who tried to make the peace

For those who prayed when others had no time to pray

For those creatures who needlessly die

For those trees that needlessly are slaughtered

For all of mankind

let us quietly pray:

May your God hold them in peace

May Love flow over the Earth and cleanse us all

This day and for always.

Marianne Griffin

11am 11 November 2004

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Never Again (background)

Never Again! is by by a 10 year old boy, Scott Michael Beer. It was read by the vicar of St Peters and Pauls (Grays) at the Remembrance Ceremony held on Tuesday 11 November 2008 with the Grays Thurrock Branch of the Royal British Legion.

Never Again

It was ninety years ago,

The end of a terrible war,

Millions say, Never Again!

Never again the pain and sorrow,

Never again the bombs of tomorrow,

Never again the smell of gas,

Never again the death of mass,

Never again the bombs and red sky,

Never again all who die,

Never again the rations of starvation,

Never again the sadness of evacuation,

Never again the air raids and dying,

Never again the shooting and crying,

Never again the horror of war,

That’s why we say

Never again

Scott Beer Aged 10 (Nov 2008)

Copyright 2008 Scott Beer.

Published here by permission of Scott's mother, Mrs Angela Beer.

A Wish

Maybe it is pointless

To wish for lasting peace

For all mankind to lay down arms

For all fighting to cease

I could despair of seeing

Peace throughout the land

No longer hearing talk of war

Blood mixed with desert sand

We do not have the tolerance

For cultures not our own

Seeds fly on an ill wind

From beds where they are sown

Hope lies in a child's heart

Not yet turned to stone

A mind free of prejudice

A child not alone

If all children of the world

Held each others hand

They could do what we could not

Make a Brotherhood of Man.

Maxine Kendall

Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Maxine Kendall was born in the UK

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Maybe we should remember

I shall be going to the civic Remembrance Day service at . . . Maybe we ought to read the words of Chief Seattle on Remembrance Day too, and remember that the living planet itself is under attack, every living thing being linked to each other ..... the water, the trees, the plants , whole ecosystems, habitats, animals ... and us humans who are trying to dominate Nature. All nations' God is the same except by name and we all live on the same planet. We are all brothers and sisters, but we do not understand each other's ways, and this is the problem.

"Go in Peace today. Love and be loved. The Fountain of Truth will prevail for a few hours at least today and make people wonder ..... 'why ?' "

Marianne Griffin

12 November 2006

David Roberts, Editor, The War Poetry website. 

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