From Our Archives: Poetry From World War II

World War II

This year marks the eightieth anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.

Recently, I uncovered some poems from those dark years in our Archives. I’d like to share them with everyone.

Both of these focus on the Home Front.

“Our Women” was published in the “Friend” in January, 1943.

“We’re At War” appeared in February of that year, and was a call to all to remain cheerful and brave.

Our Women


Well, I never thought to see it: women pouring through the gate

And hurrying down the hallway lest the clock shall mark them late,

The women of the country at the factories carrying on

In the places of their menfolk who to freedom’s war have gone.


That’s a prettier box they carry than the ugly thing of tin

Which the men for years have toted, and a daintier lunch within.

But they tell me once they’ve practised and have learned the methods through

They are keeping up production as their menfolk used to do.


I watch them in the morning and I watch them homeward bound,

And I think as they go by me, here is pluck which won’t be downed!

Here is pure determination! Here are women brave and true

In the places of their menfolk who have bitterer work to do.



We’re At War


Bear the hardships with a grin!

We’re at war!

Is your coat a trifle thin?

We’re at war!

Less of sugar in the tea?

Longer stay-at-homes are we?

Then contented let us be,

We’re at war!


Keep the twinkle in the eye!

We’re at war!

What if taxes seem too high?

We’re at war!

Must the mother darn the hose?

That’s one flaw which never shows.

Also everybody knows

We’re at war!


Let us keep the grumbling down.

We’re at war!

It takes little pluck to frown.

We’re at war!

Against those who do and dare

And the bitter fighting bear,

Very little seems our share,

We’re at war!


Now’s the time for being brave!

We’re at war!

If we’re forced to scrimp and save,

We’re at war!

No use grumbling; frettin’s vain

Back once more to living plain,

Let’s be patient, yes, and sane,

We’re at war!



For more from our Archives, including more World War II content, click the tag below.

The “Friend” still regularly publishes poetry from our readers. Do you have something to submit? Click here for more information.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!