The Price We Pay

Comparing and Contrasting War from the Past to the Present

World War One

Who's For the Game?

Who's for the game, the biggest that's played,

The red crashing game of a fight?

Who'll grip and tackle the job unafraid?

And who thinks he'd rather sit tight?

Who'll toe the line for the signal to 'Go!'?

Who'll give his country a hand?

Who wants a turn to himself in the show?

And who wants a seat in the stand?

Who knows it won't be a picnic - not much-

Yet eagerly shoulders a gun?

Who would much rather come back with a crutch

Than lie low and be out of the fun?

Come along, lads -

But you'll come on all right -

For there's only one course to pursue,

Your country's up to her neck in a fight,

And she's looking and calling for you.

- Jessie Pope

WWI - Over There

The Call

Who's for the trench -

Are you, my laddie?

Who'll follow the French -

Will you, my laddie?

Who's fretting to begin,

Who's going out to win?

And who wants to save his skin -

Do you, my laddie?

Who's for the khaki suit -

Are you, my laddie?

Who longs to charge and shoot -

Do you, my laddie?

Who's keen on getting fit,

Who means to show his grit,

And who'd rather wait a bit -

Would you, my laddie?

Who'll earn the Empire's thanks -

Will you, my laddie?

Who'll swell the victor's ranks -

Will you, my laddie?

When that procession comes,

Banners and rolling drums -

Who'll stand and bite his thumbs -

Will you, my laddie?

- Jessie Pope

On Seeing a Piece of Our Heavy Artillery Brought into Action

Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm,

Great Gun towering towards Heaven, about to curse;

Sway steep against them, and for years rehearse

Huge imprecations like a blasting charm!

Reach at that Arrogance which needs thy harm,

And beat it down before its sins grow worse.

Spend our resentment, cannon, -- yea, disburse

Our gold in shapes of flame, our breaths in storm.

Yet, for men's sakes whom thy vast malison

Must wither innocent of enmity,

Be not withdrawn, dark arm, thy spoilure done,

Safe to the bosom of our prosperity.

But when thy spell be cast complete and whole,

May God curse thee, and cut thee from our soul!

- Wilfred Owen

III. The Dead

Blow out, you bugle, over the rich Dead!

There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,

But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.

These laid the world away; poured out the red

Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be

Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,

That men call age; and those who would have been,

Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our death,

Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.

Honour, has come back, as a King, to earth,

And paid his subjects with a royal wage;

And nobleness walks in our ways again;

And we have come into our heritage.

- Rupert Brooke

Gone, Gone Again

Gone, gone again,

May, June, July,

And August gone,

Again gone by,

Not memorable

Save that I saw them go,

As past the empty quays

The river flow.

And now again,

In the harvest rain,

The Blenheim oranges

Fall grubby from the trees

As when I was young

And when the lost one was here

And when the war began

To turn young men to dung.

Look at the old house,

Outmoded, dignified,

Dark and untenanted,

With grass growing instead

Of the footsteps of life,

The friendliness, the strife;

In its beds have lain;

Youth. love, age, and pain:

I am something like that;

Only I am not dead,

Still breathing and interested

In the house that is not dark:--

I am something like that:

Not one pane to reflect the sun,

For the schoolboys to throw at --

They have broken every one.

- Edward Thomas

Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling,

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And floundering like a man in fire or lime. --

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, chocking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.

- Wilfred Owen

The War in Iraq


Tan hot buildings, all look the same

A place forsaken, even by the rain

Some say 'the beast' lives here

And that he spreads disease, hate and fear

I never found them to be evil, in my dealings with them

They had innocence about how they befriend

Those who changed their lives, some for better, some for worse

The tribe before the country, will always be first

For they are the oldest culture known to man

Though many invaders, they continue to stand

It's American ego, to think we can change this place

They have no concept of time or personal space

The sooner we leave, the civil war will begin

Who knows where it will lead or how it will end?

Our fear is an Islamic State

One that supports terrorism, suicide bombs and hate

And if that does become the new government's core

Those we have trained, we will fight in the next war

- War Poems from Iraq

Darryl Worley - Have You Forgotten?

How Many Ways Do I Love Thee?

How many ways do I love thee?

Like a summer breeze

Across a cloudless sea

The green-blue azure

That swims in my soul

Makes me yearn for your touch

It makes me brave and bold

- War Poems from Iraq

Something Grabbed Him

And then something happened from within

Something grabbed him

Gabbed him by the throat

He began to choke

He fought in frenzy, fighting for his life

He thought it was over, he thought of his wife

He thought death was knocking on the door

Death was close, as it had been so many times before

It can't be, it can't be, he began to scream

'Wake up' said his wife, 'it's only a dream.'

- War Poems from Iraq

Better Them Than Me

God knows I hate this war

But there is no place I would rather be

I'm mentally in a different place than before

Commanding my unit, serving my country

It's a guessing game, what the enemy has in store

Who the enemy is, we'll have to wait and see

Wait for the attack you know will come

You wait, you wait, not knowing where from

A car, a child, an old man all could bring you early demise

Shoot first and figure it out later, better them dead than me

- War Poems from Iraq

The Boy and His Toy

The crowd was mad and wanted blood

His mutilated body lay in the mud

It had been a mistake, the killing of this boy

He had run to stand over to their convoy

Raised his arms as to throw a grenade

Was it worth it? What they were doing? What they were getting paid?

He was shot to bits, this boy

What he was holding, turned out to be a toy

A plastic toy grenade

Given by the enemy is whose purchase it was paid

He was old enough to know, old enough to be afraid

Now he was dead and couldn't be saved

- War Poems from Iraq

In The End

What is

What was

What should be

What should have been

What I am

What I'm not

What I will be

What I have been

What I should be

What I have

What I have not

What I will have

What I wanted

What I should have given

What I've done

Where I've been

Where I should have gone

Where I will be

Where I should be

How I live

How I die

How I wanted to live

How time went by

Was I true to myself

In the end?

- War Poems from Iraq



"Back at home I forgot what I did/Who I was, and how I lived" ("Survive" 9-10)

This shows the intense focus on just trying to survive through the day. There isn't time to think about one's life before the war because the chances are higher of one not surviving, All attention must be placed on one's survival.

"Soldiers deploy, untrained as to what they'll face" ("Cost" 10)

Many of the men in WWI were unaware of the major changes in the game of war. For those in Iraq even though there are training camps the men must go through nothing truly prepares one for real event.

Men in both wars had to leave their loved ones behind without knowing if they would ever see each other again.

war becomes a 'kill all' rather than the eloquent manner used back during the American Civil War.

War changes men, even back during WWI. From excerpts above one can see how either their perspectives of war changed and or others seen in soldiers that suffer from PTSD.


WWI was caused by many factors such as conflicts between numerous countries and Imperialism. For the war in Iraq the U.S. became involved to stop the spread of "disease, hate and fear" ( "Iraq" 4).

For many European countries, their biggest fear was being taken over by another country with more power. In Iraq we feared an "Islamic state/ One that supports terrorism, suicide bombs and hate" ("Iraq" 15-16)

Although the soldiers in WWI didn't really know which country they were actually fighting about they at least didn't have to worry about civilians as being the enemy as well like it was in Iraq. In Iraq "It [was] a guessing game...Who the enemy even [was]" ("Better Them Than Me" 5-6). They used sneakier tactics such as suicide bombers, using children as pawns in their game to destroy the "enemy" when in truth they are the enemy for such heinous acts.

The effects on soldiers coming home from WWI is unknown compared to the harmful effects such as PTSD and depression from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"all he had to do was say he had the blues/ ... It was the war they would say" ("The End" 5-9)

"It can't be, it can't be, he began to scream/ 'Wake up' said his wife, 'it's only a dream'" ("Something Grabbed Him" 9-10)


Letter to the Editor

In regards to some of the poems that convey hopelessness and doubt about the outcomes of the war, I believe that such negativity is wrongful to blatantly admit and detrimental to the psychological mindset of soldiers fighting in war. Also it is very rude to proclaim that war is wrong when there are thousands of men and women fighting over seas to protect their country and their people and the only feedback they receive is criticism of the honorable and arduous job that they preform everyday! Now I'm not saying that war should always be the first answer when it comes to solving problems however it is just as wrong to say that our leaders have "broken down every one" by their choices as well as jingoism (Thomas 32). There is nothing wrong in having pride for ones' country, there is a fine line between patriotism and jingoism. The most disrespectful comment a person could make would be to say that our armed forces "turn[ed] young men to dung" (16). We must have faith in our leaders and in our military to do what is right for the safety of our country. The job of the soldiers in the military is to protect our country, and our job as citizens of the country is to support those who are brave enough to put their life on the line to save ours!

Letter To Home

Response to "Who's For The Game?"

Our "country is up to her neck in a fight" that cannot be fought alone (Pope 17). It is up to our brave, strong men who must play "" of life or death to protect our glorious country (3-4). Who wouldn't want to support his or her country? Now only the scared and weak would take a "seat in the stand" of the greatest show of a lifetime (8). What is more honorable than protecting your country and doing so successfully? Our country needs leaders who will step up to the plate and lead the people in times of need. This war is the time where one can show his or her strength and dedication to his or her country! It's puzzling as to why one wouldn't to join in all the "fun" that comes along with such a great opportunity as this (13). We as citizens of such glorious country should look upon the upcoming war as a game; a game we should undoubtedly win. Therefore we should all want to help out in any way possible in leading our nation to victory!