Counter-attack: And Other Poems

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E.P. Dutton, 1918 - World War, 1914-1918 - 64 pages
 

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The war poems of Siegfried Sassoon. Along with those of Wilfred Owen, perhaps the most significant verse to come out of the experience of the trenches of World War I. Read full review

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Page 31 - 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.
Page 15 - And flashed his beam across the livid face Terribly glaring up, whose eyes yet wore Agony dying hard ten days before ; And fists of fingers clutched a blackening wound. Alone he staggered on until he found Dawn's ghost that filtered down a shstfted stair To the dazed, muttering creatures underground Who hear the boom of shells in muffled sound.
Page 41 - Wounded and missing" — (That's the thing to do When lads are left in shell-holes dying slow, With nothing but blank sky and wounds that ache, Moaning for water till they know It's night, and then it's not worth while to wake!) Good-bye, old lad!
Page 41 - Somehow I always thought you'd get done in, Because you were so desperate keen to live: You were all out to try and save your skin, Well knowing how much the world had got to give^ You joked at shells and talked the usual "shop Stuck to your dirty job and did it fine : With "Jesus Christ! when will it stop? Three years. . . . It's hell unless we break their line.
Page 8 - humblest thyself, thou humblest me; "Thou also dwelst in Eternity. "Thou art a Man, God is no more, "Thine own Humanity learn to Adore "And thy Revenge Abroad display "In terrors at the Last Judgment day.
Page 26 - DOES it matter? — losing your leg? ... For people will always be kind, And you need not show that you mind When the others come in after hunting To gobble their muffins and eggs. Does it matter? — losing your sight? . . . There's such splendid work for the blind ; And people will always be kind, As you sit on the terrace remembering And turning your face to the light.
Page 51 - Now light the candles ; one ; two ; there's a moth ; What silly beggars they are to blunder in And scorch their wings with glory, liquid flame — No, no, not that, — it's bad to think of war, When thoughts you've gagged all day come back to scare you ; And it's been proved that soldiers don't go mad Unless they lose control of ugly thoughts That drive them out to jabber among the trees.
Page 11 - We held their line, With bombers posted, Lewis guns well placed, And clink of shovels deepening the shallow trench. The place was rotten with dead; green clumsy legs High-booted, sprawled and grovelled along the saps And trunks, face downward, in the sucking mud...
Page 19 - I see them in foul dugouts, gnawed by rats, And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain, Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats...

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