The poem below makes me weep because with all the scorn and sarcasm he often used. He said the soldiers died with honour and did so with decorum ! He says they did not weep or groan.
I am afraid to say they died in dirt and mud and agony they groaned and screamed with their innards hanging out, they cried for their mothers and their sweethearts.Poor souls they died in dirt and agony.
Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) “How to Die” Dark clouds are smouldering into red
While down the craters morning burns.
The dying soldier shifts his head
To watch the glory that returns;
He lifts his fingers toward the skies
Where holy brightness breaks in flame;
Radiance reflected in his eyes,
And on his lips a whispered name.
You’d think, to hear some people talk,
That lads go West with sobs and curses,
And sullen faces white as chalk,
Hankering for wreaths and tombs and hearses.
But they’ve been taught the way to do it
Like Christian soldiers; not with haste
And shuddering groans; but passing through it
With due regard for decent taste.
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/
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:
Yes she is a beautiful child she has that look of innocence that drives men wild. She could make a fortune it is true but is it really the right thing to do.
She will love it all the fuss, the travel the treats the complements from all she meets. There is a future in photo modelling for her she has that presence that make all who see her stare.
What if she falls into the wrong hands there’s plenty out there who will misuse her beauty plenty who have nasty plans. No she will be fine no harm will come to this child of mine.
“Mummy , mummy can I go and play?” no my sweet not today. “Please mummy I want my friends to stay!” no you have wok to do send them away. “Please mum can I go to school I want to be with people my age I want to learn and play the fool.” No we have a teacher for you, there are adverts and film work for you to do.
“Why can’t I have friends around that are my age I don’t the like photographers they rant and rage.” No I told you you are special your very precious. You don’t have time to skip and play face it sweetie your looks won’t last and you’ll be too tall one day!
We should get a couple more years fame at this rate we are clawing in the money she has time to be young later she can wait. Sadly, sadly that’s not true her childhood robbed and she becomes sad and blue.
Slowly all her ties get cut her friends grow few she is neither child nor adult too. The lines of age soon get blurred is she thirteen or 23and a third?
Another form of abuse not quite so obvious but just as dangerous. The parents live their dreams and missed opportunities through their children. Not all but some, child models, child actors, child beauty queens loose their childhoods. They feel no worth unless they are being complimented . They are not balanced, being deprived of growing up through a childhood. Basically they are used as much as if they have been sold in to slavery. Sad little lost dolls.
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