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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
Twenty-two stalwarts in stripes and shorts
    Kicking a ball along,
Set in a square of leather-lunged sports
    Twenty-two thousand strong,
Some of them shabby, some of them spruce,
    Savagely clamorous all,
Hurling endearments, advice or abuse,
    At the muscular boys on the ball. 

Stark and stiff ’neath a
poem
Goliath was a giant, the bully of his side,
His coat of mail was brazen, his face was fierce with pride;
And when a shepherd stripling to challenge him was fain,
Eleven-foot Goliath ignored him in disdain.

But David didn’t trouble, his heart was cool and glad,
Though a sling and rounded pebbles were the only
poem
Not theirs the popular uniform
That takes the feminine heart by storm,
And wins soft glances, shy or warm,
        The perquisites of pluck.
But theirs the commonplace city kit,
With a blue and white stripe round the sleeve of it,
And a stout little truncheon to do the trick,
         If ever they have the luck