Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Friday, 25 July 2014

Aftermath. Have You Forgotten Yet . . ?



Siegfried Sassoon (1919)

Have you forgotten yet . . ?

For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.

But the past is just the same - and War’s a bloody game . . .
Have you forgotten yet . . ?
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz –
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets ?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench -
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain ?
Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again ?’

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack –
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men ?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads—those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay ?

Have you forgotten yet . . ?

Poem available on ABOUT.COM POETRY


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