Ode of Remembrance and other poems

Reading a poem at a commemorative service can help the audience to understand the wartime experiences of service men and women. We often use well-known wartime poetry. A great way to engage children is to ask them to read a poem or recite original work.

Ode of Remembrance

The Ode of Remembrance has been recited at events to commemorate wartime service and sacrifice since 1921.

At most ceremonies in Australia or hosted by the Australian Government in other countries, we recite the 4th stanza of the poem, For The Fallen, as the Ode:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

During the ceremony, the audience responds to the Ode: 'We will remember them'.

Variations

Other versions of the Ode exist, such as those used at Last Post ceremonies hosted by the Australian War Memorial and RSL branches. This gives some flexibility to your service.

About the poet

Laurence Binyon was an English academic and poet who wrote For The Fallen. Binyon worked as a medical orderly with the Red Cross on the Western Front during World War I. His poem was first published in The Times newspaper on 21 September 1914. By that time, the British Expeditionary Force had already experienced devastating losses on the Western Front.

Other suggested poems

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, 1914

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

We Shall Keep the Faith

by Moina Michael, 1918

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

The Farmer Remembers the Somme

by Vance Palmer, 1920

Will they never fade or pass!
The mud, and the misty figures endlessly coming
In file through the foul morass,
And the grey flood-water ripping the reeds and grass,
And the steel wings drumming.

The hills are bright in the sun:
There's nothing changed or marred in the well-known places;
When work for the day is done
There's talk, and quiet laughter, and gleams of fun
On the old folks' faces.

I have returned to these:
The farm, and the kindly Bush, and the young calves lowing;
But all that my mind sees
Is a quaking bog in a mist - stark, snapped trees,
And the dark Somme flowing.


Last updated: 4 March 2020

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2020), Ode of Remembrance and other poems, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 2 October 2020, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/commemoration/event-planning/ode-of-remembrance
Was this page helpful?