Sunday, March 10, 2013

Suicide in the Trenches

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 crumps 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.

- Siegfried Sassoon (1918)

Siegfried Sassoon (1915)
Military Cross citation (1916): "2nd Lt. Siegfried Sassoon, 3rd (attd. 1st) Bn., R. W. Fus. For conspicuous gallantry during a raid on the enemy's trenches. He remained for 1½ hours under rifle and bomb fire collecting and bringing in our wounded. Owing to his courage and determination all the killed and wounded were brought in."

Youtube is pretty remarkable for quality readings of great poems:

Finally, I was expecting to hate this, but it is rather good. Love the way he fools the crowd into clapping along to the jaunty music.


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