Two Hundred Years After

A poem by Siegfried Sassoon

Trudging by Corbie Ridge one winter's night,
(Unless old, hearsay memories tricked his sight),
Along the pallid edge of the quiet sky
He watched a nosing lorry grinding on,
And straggling files of men; when these were gone,
A double limber and six mules went by,
Hauling the rations up through ruts and mud
To trench-lines digged two hundred years ago.
Then darkness hid them with a rainy scud,
And soon he saw the village lights below.

But when he'd told his tale, an old man said
That he'd seen soldiers pass along that hill;
"Poor, silent things, they were the English dead
Who came to fight in France and got their fill."

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