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About this poet

Jessie Pope was born in 1868 in Leicester, England. She studied at the North London Collegiate School for Girls. She began writing articles and light, often humorous verse for Punch magazine and other popular publications. She is best known for her poetry of World War I, published in Jessie Pope’s War Poems (G. Richards, 1915) and More War Poems (G. Richards, 1915). Though Pope was widely read during the war, she is often vilified now for her poetry’s light-hearted, pro-war sentiments, especially in comparison to contemporaries such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. She died on December 14, 1941, in Devon, England.

The Silent Camp

In heaven, a pale uncertain star,
    Through sullen vapour peeps,
On earth, extended wide and far,
In all the symmetry of war,
    A weary army sleeps.

The heavy-hearted pall of night
    Obliterates the lines,
Save where a dying camp-fire’s light
Leaps up and flares, a moment bright,
    Then once again declines.

Black, solemn peace is brooding low,
    Peace, still unbroken, when
There comes a sound, an ebb and flow—
The steady breathing, deep and slow,
    Of half-a-million men.

The pregnant dawn is drawing nigh,
    The dawn of power or pain;
But now, beneath the mournful sky,
In sleep’s maternal arms they lie
    Like children once again. 

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Jessie Pope

Jessie Pope was born in 1868 in Leicester, England. She is best known for her poetry of World War I, published in Jessie Pope’s War Poems (G. Richards, 1915) and More War Poems (G. Richards, 1915). Pope died in 1941 in Devon, England.

by this poet

poem
Darkness—expectant, discreet—
    Only a lamp here and there,
Gloom in the clattering street,
    Stygian black in the square;
Dazzling fascias and fronts,
    Scintillant sky-scrapers banished,
Snuffed and shut down are the spangles of Town.
            London has vanished.

Only a few months ago
    London woke
poem
The call came in the stormy night,
    Beneath a stranger’s sky.
The soldier of a life-long fight,
    Still fighting, went to die.

His country’s honour was his goal;
    Patient, unswerving, brave,
His mind, his heart, his work, his soul—
    His very all, he gave.  

He toiled to rouse us from our sleep,
poem
The dying sunset’s slanting rays
    Incarnadine the soldier’s deed,
His sturdy countenance betrays
               The bull-dog breed.

Not his to shun the stubborn fight,
    The struggle against cruel odds.
Alone, unaided—'tis a sight
                For men and gods.

And now his back is bowed and bent,