Image of poet Sara-Jane Arbury reading poems at WW1 Civic Event

New poems written by young people about World War One

On Monday 4th August, to mark the 100th anniversary of the day war was declared, Bath & North East Somserset Council held a commemorative event at the Bath War Memorial.  The event told local stories of the impact of World War One on our area through music, readings and poetry.

The crowd of around 350 who attended the commemorative event got to hear the first public readings of four new poems composed especially for the event. They were written by three young boys who worked with poet and writer Sara-Jane Arbury (pictured above reading the poems).  

Sara-Jane met with children at Snapdragons Weston Holiday Club and in small groups they discussed the First World War.  The poems that were developed for the special event were the work of Isaac Elliott (aged 9), Archie Dodd (aged 8) and Ben Elliott (aged 7). These three young poets discussed the War, battlefields, poppies and different types of poems with Sara-Jane. Together they composed the following four wonderful poems: 


I am a balloonist, a bird of war,

I fly over battlefields, risking my life,

I see metal domes of soldiers’ helmets

Crawling slowly over the ground,

Protecting them like the shells of snails,

I can be shot down at any time –

But here, high up in the open air,

I feel the most free I can almost be



The Unknown Soldier,

Lying in my grave bed still,

Asleep and dreaming


Making up a name

So that I feel I am here:

“Let me be alive!”



Saving my friends and fighting for my country,

Obeying orders to march to the front –

Left, right, left, right, in the day and the night,

Dashing away from death and destruction,

I wish, wish, wish I was back at home,

Every soldier is afraid in war but I’m ready for this,

Remember me.



The lips of a sweetheart whispering Goodbye

A bloom of blood from every soldier’s wounds

A visit to a grave that you can’t get to

A colour thriving in earth trodden down by boots

A kiss of death from an unseen enemy

A memory of the fallen, forget them not

A feeling that they are right by our side

A face to fit a name of those we don’t know

The briefest of lifetimes to grow and flower

The beauty of love held tightly in place

A spark of the fire within soldiers’ hearts

A seedbed filled with names of all the dead

A promise to renew, regenerate, life will go on

The ‘Never Again’ signal for wars to stop


Poems by Isaac Elliott (aged 9), Archie Dodd (aged 8) and Ben Elliott (aged 7)

With Sara-Jane Arbury, July-August 2014

Other World War One poems by local young people

To read 14 very moving 'Unknown Soldier' poems written by year 6 pupils at St Stephen's Primary School in Bath follow this link.

Year 10 poet Peter Mumford from King Edward's School, Bath, was a winner in the Wilfred Owen Association International Poetry Competition with his poem Ein Unbekannter Deutscher Offizier ('The Unknown German Officer').  You can read Peter's poem here on the King Edward's School website.

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