A Modern War Poem

Take the first line of any one of the poets studied this week, and in the style of that poet, compose your own poem about the horror of wars as you might imagine

For my creative piece this week, I decided to take the first line of Wilfred Owen’s “Anthem for Doomed Youth” and write my own poem. I thought that rather than writing a WW1 war poem, I would subvert the line and use it to write about a “war” in our world today; this “war” being Australia versus refugees that are rejected and vilified.

Anthem for Asylum Seekers

What passing bells for these who die as cattle?
-Only isolation and being unwanted.
Enduring endless injustice and an unfair battle
For those who carry on, exhausted.
No memorials of their hardships; no relent
Nor a voice of reason resounding.
Instead excuses we, ourselves, invent-
Prejudice, racism and fear abounding.
Why is their humanity replaced with alienation?
The lives left at home and lost in “sanctuary”-
Australia, with false pride in an egalitarian nation
Refuses the outcasts when help is necessary.
Through cries of help and tragic goodbyes,
The world turn away with covered ears and closed eyes.

6 thoughts on “A Modern War Poem

  1. ronnykamaledine says:

    Hey, Tamara. Amazing poem and continuation from a previous poem. I really like how you persisted with the same connotations as the given line and the use of rhyming couplets, second person, rhetorical questions and irony were really well utilised, as they make the reader reflect. The only negative comment I have to say is that the poem makes a generalisation that all of Australia has this perspective. Other than that I think this poem is close to perfection.

    Kind Regards,


  2. michaelgriffith1 says:

    Good to see you tackling a contemporary subject in this way Tamara and your illustration is perfect. Well done.
    How to improve? I think the poem needs to “sing” more rhythmically. If you read it aloud you will find some lines are beautifully crafted e.g.

    Prejudice, racism and fear abounding.

    while others sound rather flat and prosaic e.g.

    Refuses the outcasts when help is necessary.

    So what needs to be done? You can change word order, change line lengths etc. The best authors spend years perfecting their poems. So what you have here is just the start – but a good start!


  3. briannamwblog says:

    Hi Tamara,

    Your “Anthem for Asylum Seekers” was an adventurous piece to take on. I enjoy how you made the first line of Wilfred Owen’s poem work effectively within your piece. By starting off positively, I want to say that I love the alliteration of the words, “relent, reason, resounding,” which you use in the first few lines. I also found I connected well with “Australia, with false pride in an egalitarian nation/Refuses the outcasts when help is necessary.” I am not well educated on the subject of Asylum Seekers and Australia’s take towards them, but I do feel like I understand what you mean even from what little I know.

    Taking a few notes from your work, I have a few to point out, but I can tell you have experimented with language much within this piece – and I commend the excellent job you have done! Overall, I couldn’t follow the rhythm of your poem. It feels disjointed within the first four lines and breaks into a rhythm after that. This might have just been me, but when I read it, it doesn’t seem to carry the same flow as the next ten lines. Also, the seventh line where you say, ‘invent-‘ sounds out of place, almost forced. This could perhaps, just be me again. Take note on repeating words such as ‘help’ unless it is being used as a greater meaning. Last of all, in the final line you state, “The world turn away with covered ears and closed eyes.” Should it be “The world turns away with covered ears and closed eyes”?

    Such an impressive job overall, excellent work!


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