September 08, 2011
The first war poet I read, Siegfried Loraine Sassoon was one of my earliest influences in the realm of poetry.
His poetry, which emerged from and absorbed events that related to and surrounded the first World War, is exceedingly ontic, intermittently disturbing (though truthful), and tragically profound. His style is very ‘earthly’ and very existential, and he gracefully and nobly touches on topics that are taboo. He’s a good poet.
The first poem of his I read was Death Bed- a poem that depicts the throes of death and the dying away of a soldier in an infirmary (a highly recommended read). The poem below, titled Glory of Women, bares beautiful testimony of the talent and audacity of this poet’s works- check it out …
Glory of Women
You love us when we're heroes, home on leave,
Or wounded in a mentionable place.
You worship decorations; you believe
That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace.
You make us shells. You listen with delight,
By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled.
You crown our distant ardours while we fight,
And mourn our laurelled memories when we're killed.
You can't believe that British troops "retire"
When hell's last horror breaks them, and they run,
Trampling the terrible corpses - blind with blood.
O German mother dreaming by the fire,
While you are knitting socks to send your son
His face is trodden deeper in the mud.