POEMS FROM THE DESERT
A Britain in Poetry Production
Based on ‘Poems from the Desert,’ a World War II anthology of Eighth Army poems collected during the Western Desert campaign of North Africa, 1942/43.
1942. Montgomery's Eighth Army are locked in struggle against the Axis forces under Rommel, the Desert Fox, in the Western desert of North Africa. Amidst the fighting, just after the historic 2nd Battle of El Alamein, a poetry competition is held for the troops. Over four hundred poems are submitted by the soldiers. Twenty-seven are chosen for the book, including the anonymous 'A Soldier, His Prayer', said to have been blown by the wind into a slit trench at El Agheila, Libya during a heavy bombardment.
The poems tell of love and loss and the hopes and fears of ordinary young soldiers, many of whom had never left Britain before, who find themselves in the vast, inhospitable desert of North Africa and its no-place-to-hide warfare.
Among them is Tony (Israel), a young man in his twenties from intelligence corp. His poem about the 2nd Battle of El Alamein, won 1st prize, presented by Field Marshal Montgomery himself. Seventy years later Tony recalls the battle on camera and recites his poem for the first and last time.
The film Poems from the Desert tells the story of the Allied Eighth Army through the personal accounts and poems of the men who were there and the women they left behind. A final account before they themselves pass into history.
It is a universal film. Though it tells the story through the eyes of the allied forces, the experience of the desert war was shared by Italian and German soldiers too.
The film is in production and currently raising completion funds. Click on the donate tab in the menu above to read more about what we're raising funds for and to support us.