This poem, written in 1918 to commemorate Vera Brittain's brother Edward's bravery in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, was chosen in association with The Poetry Society to appear on a Special Stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War. It was produced in 2016 by Royal Mail. It is reproduced with the permission of the Vera Brittain Estate.

To My Brother

by Vera Brittain

Your battle-wounds are scars upon my heart,
    Received when in that grand and tragic
      “show”
You played your part
   Two years ago,

And silver in the summer morning sun
   I see the symbol of your courage glow-
That Cross you won
   Two years ago,

Though now again you watch the shrapnel
      fly,
   And hear the guns that daily louder grow,
As in July
   Two years ago,

May you endure to lead the last advance
   And with your men pursue the flying foe
As once in France
   Two years ago.

 

Your battle-wounds are scars upon my heart
© Royal Mail Group Ltd 2016.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

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