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 28 - 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. Do they matter?— those dreams from the pit? . . . You can drink and forget and be glad, And people won't say that you're mad; For they'll know that you've fought for your country, And no one will worry a bit.
Page 27 - Lamentations I FOUND him in the guard-room at the Base. From the blind darkness I had heard his crying And blundered in. With puzzled, patient face A sergeant watched him ; it was no good trying To stop it ; for he howled and beat his chest. And, all because his brother had gone West, Raved at the bleeding war ; his rampant grief Moaned, shouted, sobbed, and choked, while he was kneeling Half-naked on the floor. In my belief Such men have lost all patriotic feeling.
Page 25 - If I were fierce and bald, and short of breath, I'd live with Scarlet Majors at the Base, And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
Page 12 - ... trodden sand-bags loosely filled; And naked sodden buttocks, mats of hair, Bulged, clotted heads slept in the plastering slime. And then the rain began, - the jolly old rain! A yawning soldier knelt against the bank, Staring across the morning blear with fog; He wondered when the Allemands would get busy; And then, of course, they started with five-nines Traversing, sure as fate, and never a dud. Mute in the...
Page 15 - Savage, he kicked a soft, unanswering heap, 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.
Page 52 - You're quiet and peaceful, summering safe at home; You'd never think there was a bloody war on! ... O yes, you would . . . why, you can hear the guns. Hark! Thud, thud, thud, — quite soft . . . they never cease — Those whispering guns — O Christ, I want to go out And screech at them to stop — I'm going crazy; I'm going stark, staring mad because of the guns.
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 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 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...
Page 49 - Come down from heaven to meet me when my breath Chokes, and through drumming shafts of stifling death I stumble toward escape, to find the door Opening on morn where I may breathe once more Clear cock-crow airs across some valley dim With whispering trees. While dawn along the rim Of night's horizon flows in lakes of fire, Come down from heaven's bright hill, my song's desire. Belov'd and faithful, teach my soul to wake In glades deep-ranked with flowers that gleam and shake And flock your paths...

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