Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The War Poets...

Hello again.

I'm not big on the old rhyming stuff. The truth is, I don't appreciate most poetry, probably because I can't understand 90% of it. (Maybe I'm too stupid?)

War poetry, however, specifically WW1 stuff, is the exception. There's a terrible, beautiful simplicity in the works of these long-dead soldier poets. Even now, a hundred years after they were written, their words are as raw and visceral as on the day they were first written.

For all their brutal honesty, these are poems that I can understand.

So, on this the eleventh day of the eleventh month, I'll leave you with one of my favourite poems. This one was written by Siegfried Sassoon. I hope you find it as moving as I do.


Soldiers are citizens of death's grey land,
Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.   
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.   
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win   
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,   
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain   
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.

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