Poems of the Second World War Selected by Gaby Morgan

This is a collection of powerful and moving poems, written from different viewpoints by those who experienced WW2.

When using any collection of poetry in the classroom, a teacher needs to carefully select those that they will use, based on their knowledge of their class and so on. There is no doubting the quality of this collection; however, I am going to look at a couple of the poems I would use with older primary children, rather than the book as a whole.

Leave Poem by Anne Bulley

This poem beautifully expresses the wish for time to pass slowly. The opening verse-

O let the days spin out

In leisure, as the clouds pass;

Weave webs of shadow

Across the grass.

-captures the idea of drifting clouds, lengthening shadows- those endless days of summer! It raises the possibility for discussing why the poet would want time to go so slowly- what are they trying to avoid returning to and why. Using poetry (in any format- not necessarily rhyming, as this one), children could explore the things that they would not want to leave behind- the things that they enjoy doing, the people they enjoy being with. 


September, 1939 by Vera Brittain

At first glance, this poem looks short and simple, but there is much to explore in these lines. It is beautiful and worth sharing!


My choices might not be those of other teachers – and these are not the only ones I would use. On balance, however, I feel this anthology would be better used with secondary children.