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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsSPEAKER: "War," by Mary Gilmore. "Out in the dust he lies; flies in his mouth, ants in his eyes, I stood at the door where he went out; full-grown man, ruddy and stout; I heard the march of the trampling feet, slow and steady come down the street; this beat of the drum was clods on the heart, for all the regiment looked so smart! I heard the crackle of hasty cheers run like the breaking of unshed tears, and just for a moment, as he went by, I had sight of his face, and the flash of his eye.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 secondsHe died a hero's death, they said, when they came to tell me my boy was dead; but out in the street a dead dog lies; flies in his mouth, ants in his eyes."

'War', by Mary Gilmore

Watch a reading of Mary Gilmore’s poem, ‘War’, read by Monash University student Hannah Gordon.

Talking point

In the Comments, share with other learners your thoughts on the Mary Gilmore poem. You may wish to talk about the way Gilmore expresses the conflict between the appeal of propaganda and the moral arguments that appealed to women as mothers and moral guardians of the nation.

Don’t forget to contribute to the discussion by working your way through the comments by other learners, making sure you provide constructive feedback and commentary.


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This video is from the free online course:

World War 1: A History in 100 Stories

Monash University

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join: