Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Poetry - Siegfried Sassoon

I receive a daily email from the website Interesting Literature. Five interesting things that happened on this day, five things you may not have known about a writer or a book. Last week, there was a post on their list of the ten war poems they think everyone should read. They limited it to WWI &, although there were several of my favourites in the list, there were also a few I didn't know, including this one, Dreamers, by Siegfried Sassoon. It's a quiet poem, with none of the rage that infuses his best-known work. I love the image of soldiers dreaming of home & normality while they're in the middle of the most horrendous, unnatural period of their lives.

Soldiers are citizens of death's grey land,
Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.  
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.  
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win  
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,  
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain  
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.


  1. I'm not familiar with this, either, Lyn. It's good. I misread the last line as 'And going to the office in the rain.' Actually, I like that better!

    1. The poor souls had probably had enough rain if they survived the trenches! Although being in a train with the rain outside would be welcome.

  2. War poems and stories are so sad. Thank you for mentioning the Interesting Lit site. I had not heard of it. I will have to look up Charlotte Mews as I do not know of her. We share a birthday date, months and day anyway ☺I look forward to their mail outs.

    1. Charlotte Mew is very interesting although she had a sad life. Penelope Fitzgerald wrote a wonderful biography of her. Happy Birthday Pam!