Poems by Siegfried Sassoon

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I
Three hours ago he blundered up the trench,
Have you forgotten yet?...
Young Croesus went to pay his call
Down in the hollow there's the whole Brigade
You told me, in your drunken-boasting mood,
At dawn the ridge emerges massed and dun
October's bellowing anger breaks and cleaves
I am banished from the patient men who fight.
If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
"Fall in! Now, get a move on!" (Curse the rain.)
Music of whispering trees
The house is crammed: tier beyond tier they grin
There seemed a smell of autumn in the air
(EGYPTIAN BASE CAMP)
"Fall in, that awkward squad, and strike no more
We'd gained our first objective hours before
I
His wet, white face and miserable eyes
Does it matter? - losing your leg? ...
Soldiers are citizens of death's grey land,
He seemed so certain "all was going well,"
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
The boys came back. Bands played and flags were flying,
You love us when we're heroes, home on leave,
Dark clouds are smouldering into red
I stood with the Dead, so forsaken and still:
Quietly they set their burden down: he tried
The barrack-square, washed clean with rain,
So Davies wrote: "This leaves me in the pink."
Come down from heaven to meet me when my breath
Ring your sweet bells; but let them be farewells
I found him in the guard-room at the Base.
(GREAT WAR)
(ALEXANDRIA-MARSEILLES)
Dim, gradual thinning of the shapeless gloom
When you are standing at your hero's grave,
Lost in the swamp and welter of the pit,
Now light the candles; one; two; there's a moth;
A lady watches from the crowd,
When I'm asleep, dreaming and lulled and warm, -
In fifty years, when peace outshines
I'd been on duty from two till four.
I knew a simple soldier boy
No doubt they'll soon get well; the shock and strain
He drowsed and was aware of silence heaped
I
Why do you lie with your legs ungainly huddled,
"The effect of our bombardment was terrific. One man told me he had never seen so many dead before." - War Correspondent.
Snug at the club two fathers sat,
"Good-morning; good-morning!" the General said
Not much to me is yonder lane
"Jack fell as he'd have wished," the Mother said,
God with a Roll of Honour in His hand
To these I turn, in these I trust;
Propped on a stick he viewed the August weald;
(Hindenburg Line, April 1917.)
The road is thronged with women; soldiers pass
He primmed his loose red mouth, and leaned his head
When life was a cobweb of stars for Beauty who came
He's got a Blighty wound. He's safe; and then
The Bishop tells us: "When the boys come back
Tossed on the glittering air they soar and skim,
Well, how are things in Heaven? I wish you'd say,
Splashing along the boggy woods all day,
Shaken from sleep, and numbed and scarce awake,
Shaken from sleep, and numbed and scarce awake,
Hullo! here's my platoon, the lot I had last year.
Trudging by Corbie Ridge one winter's night,
When I'm among a blaze of lights,
"Pass it along, the wiring party's going out" -

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