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Survivors -- Siegfried Sassoon

Guest poem sent in by Vidur
(Poem #1189) Survivors
 No doubt they'll soon get well; the shock and strain
 Have caused their stammering, disconnected talk.
 Of course they're 'longing to go out again,'
 These boys with old, scared faces, learning to walk.
 They'll soon forget their haunted nights; their cowed
 Subjection to the ghosts of friends who died,
 Their dreams that drip with murder; and they'll be proud
 Of glorious war that shatter'd all their pride...
 Men who went out to battle, grim and glad;
 Children, with eyes that hate you, broken and mad.
-- Siegfried Sassoon
so i can't get the impending war out of my head these days. so much so
that some nights i don't sleep too well. i don't think i've ever felt
this way before. a couple of months ago i read 'dear mr. president', a
collection of short stories by gabe hudson. it wasn't a great piece of
writing, but it was vivid and energetic in its description of
manifestations of the 'gulf war syndrome.'

i cannot even begin to fathom the trauma of war.

there are numerous poems on war, several superlative ones written at
the time of the great wars by the likes of auden, sassoon, owen, and
others. 'survivors' is one such poem. i particularly like the way in
which it opens with a dispassionate tone - very nonchalant - then toys
with irony, and finally strikes with chilling contempt for the
advocates of war.

what a shame that history has taught us nothing - not even when her
lessons are passed down with such eloquence.


53 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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