Rendezvous with Death: American Poems of the Great War

Front Cover
Mark W. Van Wienen
University of Illinois Press, 2002 - 363 pages
This masterfully assembled volume, arranged chronologically, reveals American poets' shifting, conflicting reactions to the war and highlights their efforts to shape U.S. policies and define American attitudes. In his introduction, Mark W. Van Wienen describes the rapid, politically charged responses possible in a culture attuned to poetry. His historical and biographical notes provide a sturdy framework for the study of poetry's role in social activism and change during the "war to end war."
The most complete resource of its kind, Rendezvous with Death brings together poetry originally published in little magazines, labor journals, newspapers, and wartime anthologies. Alight with sorrow, grace, silliness, satire, pride, and anger, works by IWW members, sock poets, pacifists, and protestors take their places next to those by Edith Wharton, Alan Seeger, Wallace Stevens, James Weldon Johnson, Amy Lowell, and Claude McKay.
 

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Contents

PRESENTIMENTS
37
America the Beautiful
41
The AngloSaxon Christians with Gatling gun and sword
42
A Few Words from Wilhelm
43
Black Samson of Brandywine
45
Should I Ever Be a Soldier
46
O say can you see you who glory in war
47
AUGUST TO DECEMBER 1914
49
The Traitor
164
The Consequentious Objector
165
The Consequentious Objector
166
The American Conscript
168
A War Change
170
IF A Mother to Her Daughter
172
Peace Hath Her Belgiums
173
WarTime Cradle Song
175

The German American to His Adopted Country
55
The Womans Cry
56
Ready to Kill
58
Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight
59
I Doubt
61
War
62
A Chant of Hate against England
64
Motherhoods Chant
65
The AntiMilitarist
66
The Metal Checks
67
The Camp Follower
71
Unser Gott
73
Ten thousand Tommy Atkinses went fourth into the fray
75
A Scrap of Paper
76
1915
79
I Didnt Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier
87
From This War
88
To a War Poet
90
Buttons
91
Battle Cry of the Mothers
92
Five Souls
94
To My Country
95
Missionary and Hottentot
96
The White Ships and the Red
97
Twas You Who Raised Your Boy to Be a Soldier
100
MORC
101
The Neutral
102
The Return of August
105
The Return
107
XIV
109
XV
110
Champagne 191415
113
What For?
115
Edith Cavell
117
The Ballad of Bethlehem Steel or The Need for Preparedness
119
1916
121
Hymn of Hate
129
The Tryst
130
O Glorious France
131
The Women of England
133
National Anthem
134
Preparedness
135
At Carrizal
136
The Naturalized Alien
137
Retribution
139
Vive la France
140
I Have a Rendezvous with Death
142
In Flanders Fields
143
1917
145
Not to Keep
155
Soldiers to Pacifists
156
Orange of Midsummer
157
Essen
158
The Lavoir
159
The Machine
161
From Mr Asquith and the British Government
163
To the Beloved of One Dead
176
Battle Hymn of the Russian Republic
177
When the Cock Crows
179
The Sayings of Patsy 30 September
183
The SoapBox
186
The Retinue
189
Made Safe for Democracy
190
Bread
192
The Picket
193
The Sayings of Patsy 21 October
194
The Four Brothers
196
To America
201
To the Patriotic Lady across the Way
203
Father OShea
204
The Sayings of Patsy 30 December
205
1918
209
Poetic Justice
219
Freebournes Rifle
220
What We Are Fighting For
221
You Were So White So Soft
222
The Captain Said
223
Ode to Tonsilitis
224
From Lettres dun Soldat
225
VII
226
IX
227
Consequences
228
The Jazz Bird
229
At Bethlehem
230
The Red Coffins
231
Sock Song
232
The 367th Infantry
233
The Prayer Rug of Islam
234
The National Game
236
Enthusiasts
237
Fire of the Sun
240
My Aunts Little Note
241
On Active Service
243
At the Peace Table
244
The New Day
246
To a Black Soldier Fallen in the War
247
REPERCUSSIONS
249
The Unemployed Soldier
259
Thoughts Inspired by a WarTime Billboard
260
I Am Revolution
261
The Little Peoples
262
If We Must Die
263
Poppies
264
Mr Byran Enters Arlington
265
Ballad of Gene Debs
268
Notes
277
Works Cited
343
Acknowledgments
349
Index of Poems and Poets
353
Index of Topics
357
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Page 25 - And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!" If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings— nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute...
Page 7 - 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.2 1 . Five-Nines: Shells containing poison gas 2.
Page 16 - But I've a rendezvous with Death At midnight in some flaming town, When Spring trips north again this year, And I to my pledged word am true, I shall not fail that rendezvous.
Page 5 - I have a rendezvous with Death At some disputed barricade, When Spring comes back with rustling shade And apple-blossoms fill the air — I have a rendezvous with Death When Spring brings back blue days and fair. It may be he shall take my hand And lead me into his dark land And close my eyes and quench my breath — It may be I shall pass him still. I have a rendezvous with...

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