Journal For Poetry Challenge#7 29/04/2012

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:

 

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. hollyannegetspoetic
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 19:33:23

    He was an amazing poet – thank you for sharing this Willow. These things bear re-reading don’t they?

    Reply

    • willowdot21
      Apr 29, 2012 @ 20:03:21

      Yes Holly he was truly amazing and brave and I love , well love is not the word I devourer and ingest his poetry. They tell me so much have you read the poems by him I have used on this challenge ( a war poem every Sunday) … I have learnt a lot.

      Reply

  2. Blink
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 10:48:50

    i feel like reading it again and again

    Reply

  3. jymiely
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 11:59:38

    i don’t know if this is a positive comment, but let me say: you always made my heart sink… 😦 that image moved me so much i couldn’t stay focus on the poem itself 😦

    Reply

  4. simon7banks
    May 01, 2012 @ 10:07:17

    Thankyou for this. I was profoundly affected by reading a collection of British First World War poets at about the age of 17.

    Reply

    • willowdot21
      May 01, 2012 @ 12:05:39

      OH! yes they are very deeply affecting, I have found out so much while doing this challenge. I am just so profoundly grateful to all those men and women.

      Reply

  5. Archana
    May 01, 2012 @ 20:07:38

    Wow!!

    Reply

  6. Thomas Davis
    May 02, 2012 @ 15:35:28

    Sassoon is always wonderful to read, Willow. Thanks for posting this.

    Reply

  7. granbee
    May 07, 2012 @ 21:23:03

    While I respect the poetry of Sassoon in writing odes to the brave soldiers of WWI, I agree with you that he sugar-coated the true agony of dying, torn apart on battlefields far, far from home!

    Reply

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