Many had very mixed feelings when their fathers, brothers or boyfriends left for the front. Katharine Tynan had two sons who both fought in WWI. She tells us here what it must have been like to see them march off:
JOINING THE COLOURS
(West Kents, Dublin, August 1914)
There they go marching all in step so gay!
Smooth-cheeked and golden, food for shells and guns.
Blithely they go as to a wedding day,
The mothers' sons.
The drab street stares to see them row on row
On the high tram-tops, singing like the lark.
Too careless-gay for courage, singing they go
Into the dark.
With tin whistles, mouth-organs, any noise,
They pipe the way to glory and the grave;
Foolish and young, the gay and golden boys
Love cannot save.
High heart! High courage! The poor girls they kissed
Run with them: they shall kiss no more, alas!
Out of the mist they stepped—into the mist
Singing they pass.
2.1 Task 6: Watch the second part (10:00 -33:16) of the film adaption of Erich Maria Remarque's novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” (see 2.6 Task 6: Material). Take screenshots of the film to illustrate individual lines of the poem.
- Katharine Tynan, Joining the Colours. URL: http://allpoetry.com/Joining-The-Colours [12.3.16]
- Match War Poetry Quotations to a Film. URL: www.teachit.org. 2008 [12.3.16]
Ernest Brooks (1878 - 1936)