Journal For Poetry Challenge#7 04/03/2012

SUICIDE IN THE TRENCHES

By Siegfried Sassoon

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With cramps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Getty Images

Siegfried Sassoon was born into a wealthy Jewish family on  8th September 1886 in Matfield Kent and died 1st September 1967 one week before his 81st Birthday he was living in Somerset. He died of stomach cancer.                                 Being an innocent, Sassoon’s reaction to the realities of the war were all the more bitter and violent — both his reaction through his poetry and his reaction on the battlefield (where, after the death of fellow officer David Thomas and his brother Hamo at Gallipoli, Sassoon earned the nickname “Mad Jack” for his near-suicidal exploits against the German lines — in the early manifestation of his grief, when he still believed that the Germans were entirely to blame). As Paul Fussell said: “now he unleashed a talent for irony and satire and contumely that had been sleeping all during his pastoral youth.” Sassoon also showed his innocence by going public with his protest against the war (as he grew to see that insensitive political leadership was the greater enemy than the Germans). Luckily, his friend and fellow poet Robert Graves convinced the review board that Sassoon was suffering from shell-shock and he was sent instead to the military hospital at Craiglockhart where he met and influenced Wilfred Owen.

Siegfried Sassoon was decorated for bravery on the Western Front. He became one of the leading poets of the First World War.He was a key figure in the study of the poetry of the Great War: he influenced and mentored the then unknown Wilfred Owen; he spent thirty years reflecting on the war through his memoirs; and at last he found peace in his religious faith. Some critics found his later poetry lacking in comparison to his war poems. Sassoon, identifying with Herbert and Vaughan, recognized and understood this: “my development has been entirely consistent and in character” he answered, “almost all of them have ignored the fact that I am a religious poet.”            ….. http://www.poemhunter.com/siegfried-sassoon/biography/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another poem that wrenched my heart and flooded my brain with images of war. The more I read the more horrors I discover.This is pure and simply the tale of a of a young country lad ( it could so easily of been Siegfried himself.) who was taken from his hard but happy rural life and thrown into trench warfare. Noise , blood, mud, smells, dead bodies, rats, lice, fear horror. Would you like to eat , sleep drink , urinate , defecate all in the same space???

I am sure that many more frightened boys committed suicide just because they could not stand the nightmare they had landed in. Again there is nothing more that I can say the poem has said it all. I am also sure that that men and women may well have done the same in the more recent wars too.

Lest we forget.

Poetry Challenge #7 is to create a journal of links and your reactions to poems by established (living or dead poets.) Details are here.  Example response is here. Mr. Linky for Challenge #7 is directly below:

Journal For Poetry Challenge#7 26/02/2012

                       Henry-Allingham-in-2008-001.jpg

The Poem is nothing to do with HENRY ALLINGHAM  but he was the oldest survivor of the 1st world war. He died 18th July 2009 age 113yrs. As the oldest man in the world. His legacy will be the memories he shared of a lost generation

BACK

by WILFRED GIBSON

THEY ask me where I’ve been, And what I’ve done and seen. But what can I reply Who know it wasn’t I, But someone just like me, Who went across the sea And with my head and hands Killed men in foreign lands . . . Though I must bear the blame Because he bore my name.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wilfred Gibso

Wilfred Wilson Gibson (1878-1962), a close friend of Rupert Brooke and a protégé of Edward Marsh, was born in Hexham, England in 1878.

Gibson worked for a time as a social worker in London’s East End. He published his first verse in 1902, Mountain Lovers. He had several poems included in various Georgian poetry collections prior to the war. He also wrote a play, Daily Bread, which was produced in 1910.

After the outbreak of war, Gibson served as a private in the infantry on the Western Front. It was therefore from the perspective of the ordinary soldier that Gibson wrote his war poetry.

His active service was brief, but his poetry belies his lack of experience, Breakfast being a prime example of ironic war verse written during the very early stages of the conflict.

Following the armistice, Gibson continued writing poetry and plays. His work was particularly concerned with the poverty of industrial workers and village labourers. Collected Poems: 1905-1925 was published in 1926, The Island Stag in 1927, and Within Four Walls in 1950.

Wilfred Wilson Gibson died in 1962.   http://iwvpa.net/gibsonww/index.php

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I honestly think that is one of the most honest  poems I have ever read. It is straight from the heart and I believe many, many men who returned from the war would of dealt with memories by saying this to themselves…it was not me  it was just someone with my name.

The poem is as true today as it was then, men and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq  could easily say the same. War and what men and women have to do in it’s name is as I have said before evil.

There is not much more I can say about the poem as the author says it all so very well. This poem touch my heart and made me cry.

Getty Images

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This the Poem I should of published last Sunday, hence the discrepancy in the dates

Poetry Challenge #7 is to create a journal of links and your reactions to poems by established (living or dead poets.) Details are here.  Example response is here. Mr. Linky for Challenge #7 is directly below:

Follow me on Twitter

Follow Us

Follow Us

Follow Us

Follow Us

France & Vincent

Writing Magic, Myth and Mystery

Sun in Gemini

SteveTanham - writing, mysticism, photography, poetry, friends

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

New2Writing

KL CALEY

Hot Dogs and Marmalade

Salty like hot dogs (and tears). Sweet like marmalade (and life).

Two on a Rant

Rants, humor, sarcasm, and a haiku-like substance? It's hard to know what's going to come out of our minds next.

Ivor.Plumber/Poet

An Old Plumber, An Ex-Carer, An Amateur Poet, Words From The Heart

Trent's World (the Blog)

Random Ramblings and Reviews from Trent P. McDonald

Shelley Wilson Author

Multi-Genre Author of Motivational Non-Fiction and YA Fantasy

Marsha Ingrao - Always Write

Having fun blogging with friends

Caramel

Learner at Love

Chel Owens

A Wife, My Verse, and Every Little Thing

Sacred SoulSongs

Sacred Paths and Detours

Mr. Ohh!'s Sideways View

For those of you who aren't me...and I've noticed a surprisingly large number of people who aren't.

The Small Dog

Life from the Tail End

USUAL MUTTWITS

DOG TAILS by ZoZo and Jools

kimbladeswriting

poetry and short stories

Ben Naga

Gifts from the Musey Lady and Me. "Laissez-moi vous raconter ma vraie histoire."

About the Jez of It

Poetry, stories and strange odds and ends from the desk of a writer

The Sound of One Hand Typing

Music, Musings, Memoir, and Madness

"LIFE" ( You like it, I love it! )

"LOVE"-Keeping it real, and keeping it simple!

Our Eyes Open

Come along on an adventure with us!

Diary of a Dublin Housewife

Diary of a Dublin Housewife

J-Dubs Grin and Bear It

As Always, More to Come

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

Colline's Blog

a potpourri of thoughts and experiences

pensitivity101

An onion has many layers. So have I!

lynz real cooking

lynz real life

Darswords

Musings about Havenverse

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Echoes of Life, Love and Laughter

like mercury colliding...

...moments of unexpected clarity

G-Bears Blog

Real Life - Hard Facts !

All in a Day's Breath

Art, Love of Life, Philosophy, Writing, Spirituality

Kevin Parish

Poetry, lyrics and other words...