Battalion Relief

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon 1886 ( Matfield, Kent) – 1967 (Heytesbury, Wiltshire)



"Fall in! Now, get a move on!" (Curse the rain.)
We splash away along the straggling village,
Out to the flat rich country green with June....
And sunset flares across wet crops and tillage,
Blazing with splendour-patches. Harvest soon
Up in the Line. "Perhaps the War'll be done
By Christmas-time. Keep smiling then, old son!"
  
Here's the Canal: it's dusk; we cross the bridge.
"Lead on there by platoons." The Line's a-glare
With shell-fire through the poplars; distant rattle
Of rifles and machine-guns. "Fritz is there!
Christ, ain't it lively, Sergeant? Is't a battle?"
More rain: the lightning blinks, and thunder rumbles.
"There's overhead artillery," some chap grumbles.
  
"What's all this mob, by the cross-road?" (The guides)....
"Lead on with Number One" (And off they go.)
  
"Three-minute intervals." ... Poor blundering files,
Sweating and blindly burdened; who's to know
If death will catch them in those two dark miles?
(More rain.) "Lead on, Headquarters."
(That's the lot.)
"Who's that? O, Sergeant-major; don't get shot!
And tell me, have we won this war or not?"
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

Modified on March 05, 2023

57 sec read
3

Quick analysis:

Scheme XABABCC ADEDEFF XG XGFXHHH
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,063
Words 189
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 7, 7, 2, 7

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon, (8 September 1886 – 1 September 1967) was an English poet, writer, and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both described the horrors of the trenches and satirised the patriotic pretensions of those who, in Sassoon's view, were responsible for a jingoism-fuelled war. Sassoon became a focal point for dissent within the armed forces when he made a lone protest against the continuation of the war in his "Soldier's Declaration" of 1917, culminating in his admission to a military psychiatric hospital; this resulted in his forming a friendship with Wilfred Owen, who was greatly influenced by him. Sassoon later won acclaim for his prose work, notably his three-volume fictionalised autobiography, collectively known as the "Sherston trilogy".  more…

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