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Best Famous Siegfried Sassoon Poems

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by Siegfried Sassoon | |

A Wanderer

WHEN Watkin shifts the burden of his cares
And all that irked him in his bound employ 
Once more become a vagrom-hearted boy 
He moves to roundelays and jocund airs;
Loitering with dusty harvestmen he shares 5
Old ale and sunshine; or with maids half-coy 
Pays court to shadows; fools himself with joy 
Shaking a leg at junketings and fairs.
Sometimes returning down his breezy miles A snatch of wayward April he will bring 10 Piping the daffodilly that beguiles Foolhardy lovers in the surge of spring.
And then once more by lanes and field-path stiles Up the green world he wanders like a king.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Blind

HIS headstrong thoughts that once in eager strife
Leapt sure from eye to brain and back to eye 
Weaving unconscious tapestries of life 
Are now thrust inward dungeoned from the sky.
And he who has watched his world and loved it all 5 Starless and old and blind a sight for pity With feeble steps and fingers on the wall Gropes with his staff along the rumbling city.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

October

ACROSS the land a faint blue veil of mist
Seems hung; the woods wear yet arrayment sober
Till frost shall make them flame; silent and whist
The drooping cherry orchards of October
Like mournful pennons hang their shrivelling leaves 5
Russet and orange: all things now decay;
Long since ye garnered in your autumn sheaves 
And sad the robins pipe at set of day.
Now do ye dream of Spring when greening shaws Confer with the shrewd breezes and of slopes 10 Flower-kirtled and of April virgin guest; Days that ye love despite their windy flaws Since they are woven with all joys and hopes Whereof ye nevermore shall be possessed.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Ancestors

BEHOLD these jewelled merchant Ancestors 
Foregathered in some chancellery of death;
Calm provident discreet they stroke their beards
And move their faces slowly in the gloom 
And barter monstrous wealth with speech subdued 5
Lustreless eyes and acquiescent lids.
And oft in pauses of their conference They listen to the measured breath of night¡¯s Hushed sweep of wind aloft the swaying trees In dimly gesturing gardens; then a voice 10 Climbs with clear mortal song half-sad for heaven.
A silent-footed message flits and brings The ghostly Sultan from his glimmering halls; A shadow at the window turbaned vast He leans; and pondering the sweet influence 15 That steals around him in remembered flowers Hears the frail music wind along the slopes Put forth and fade across the whispering sea.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

David Cleek

I CANNOT think that Death will press his claim
To snuff you out or put you off your game:
You¡¯ll still contrive to play your steady round 
Though hurricanes may sweep the dismal ground 
And darkness blur the sandy-skirted green 5
Where silence gulfs the shot you strike so clean.
Saint Andrew guard your ghost old David Cleek And send you home to Fifeshire once a week! Good fortune speed your ball upon its way When Heaven decrees its mightiest Medal Day; 10 Till saints and angels hymn for evermore The miracle of your astounding score; And He who keeps all players in His sight Walking the royal and ancient hills of light Standing benignant at the eighteenth hole 15 To everlasting Golf consigns your soul.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Villon

THEY threw me from the gates: my matted hair
Was dank with dungeon wetness; my spent frame
O¡¯erlaid with marish agues: everywhere
Tortured by leaping pangs of frost and flame 
So hideous was I that even Lazarus there 5
In noisome rags arrayed and leprous shame 
Beside me set had seemed full sweet and fair 
And looked on me with loathing.
But one came Who laid a cloak on me and brought me in Tenderly to an hostel quiet and clean; 10 Used me with healing hands for all my needs.
The mortal stain of my reputed sin My state despised and my defil¨¨d weeds He hath put by as though they had not been.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

The Heritage

CRY out on Time that he may take away
Your cold philosophies that give no hint
Of spirit-quickened flesh; fall down and pray
That Death come never with a face of flint:
Death is our heritage; with Life we share 5
The sunlight that must own his darkening hour:
Within his very presence yet we dare
To gather gladness like a fading flower.
For even as this our joy not long may live Perfect; and most in change the heart can trace 10 The miracle of life and human things: All we have held to destiny we give; Dawn glimmers on the soul-forsaken face; Not we but others hear the bird that sings.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Noah

WHEN old Noah stared across the floods 
Sky and water melted into one
Looking-glass of shifting tides and sun.
Mountain-tops were few: the ship was foul: All the morn old Noah marvelled greatly 5 At this weltering world that shone so stately Drowning deep the rivers and the plains.
Through the stillness came a rippling breeze; Noah sighed remembering the green trees.
Clear along the morning stooped a bird ¡ª 10 Lit beside him with a blossomed sprig.
Earth was saved; and Noah danced a jig.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Goblin Revel

IN gold and grey with fleering looks of sin 
I watch them come; by two by three by four 
Advancing slow with loutings they begin
Their woven measure widening from the door;
While music-men behind are straddling in 5
With flutes to brisk their feet across the floor ¡ª
And jangled dulcimers and fiddles thin
That taunt the twirling antic through once more.
They pause and hushed to whispers steal away.
With cunning glances; silent go their shoon 10 On creakless stairs; but far away the dogs Bark at some lonely farm: and haply they Have clambered back into the dusky moon That sinks beyond the marshes loud with frogs.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Night-Piece

YE hooded witches baleful shapes that moan 
Quench your fantastic lanterns and be still;
For now the moon through heaven sails alone 
Shedding her peaceful rays from hill to hill.
The faun from out his dim and secret place 5 Draws nigh the darkling pool and from his dream Half-wakens seeing there his sylvan face Reflected and the wistful eyes that gleam.
To his cold lips he sets the pipe to blow Some drowsy note that charms the listening air: 10 The dryads from their trees come down and creep Near to his side; monotonous and low He plays and plays till at the woodside there Stirs to the voice of everlasting sleep.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Suicide In The Trenches

 I knew a simple soldier boy 
Who grinned at life in empty joy, 
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark, 
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum, With crumps and lice and lack of rum, He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye Who cheer when soldier lads march by, Sneak home and pray you'll never know The hell where youth and laughter go.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

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.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Dreamers

 Soldiers are citizens of death's gray 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.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

The Dug-Out

 Why do you lie with your legs ungainly huddled,
And one arm bent across your sullen, cold,
Exhausted face? It hurts my heart to watch you,
Deep-shadowed from the candle's guttering gold;
And you wonder why I shake you by the shoulder;
Drowsy, you mumble and sigh and turn your head .
.
.
.
You are too young to fall asleep for ever; And when you sleep you remind me of the dead.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Does It Matter?

 Does it matter?-losing your legs?
For people will always be kind,
And you need not show that you mind
When others come in after hunting
To gobble their muffins and eggs.
Does it matter?-losing you sight? There’s such splendid work for the blind; And people will always be kind, As you sit on the terrace remembering And turning your face to the light.
Do they matter-those dreams in the pit? You can drink and forget and be gald, And people won't say that you’re mad; For they know that you've fought for your country, And no one will worry a bit.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

To My Brother

 Give me your hand, my brother, search my face; 
Look in these eyes lest I should think of shame; 
For we have made an end of all things base.
We are returning by the road we came.
Your lot is with the ghosts of soldiers dead, And I am in the field where men must fight.
But in the gloom I see your laurell’d head And through your victory I shall win the light.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Hero

 'Jack fell as he'd have wished,' the Mother said,
And folded up the letter that she'd read.
'The Colonel writes so nicely.
' Something broke In the tired voice that quavered to a choke.
She half looked up.
'We mothers are so proud Of our dead soldiers.
' Then her face was bowed.
Quietly the Brother Officer went out.
He'd told the poor old dear some gallant lies That she would nourish all her days, no doubt.
For while he coughed and mumbled, her weak eyes Had shone with gentle triumph, brimmed with joy, Because he'd been so brave, her glorious boy.
He thought how 'Jack', cold-footed, useless swine, Had panicked down the trench that night the mine Went up at Wicked Corner; how he'd tried To get sent home, and how, at last, he died, Blown to small bits.
And no one seemed to care Except that lonely woman with white hair.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

A Childs Prayer

 For Morn, my dome of blue, 
For Meadows, green and gay, 
And Birds who love the twilight of the leaves, 
Let Jesus keep me joyful when I pray.
For the big Bees that hum And hide in bells of flowers; For the winding roads that come To Evening’s holy door, May Jesus bring me grateful to his arms, And guard my innocence for evermore.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

The Kiss

 To these I turn, in these I trust; 
Brother Lead and Sister Steel.
To his blind power I make appeal; I guard her beauty clean from rust.
He spins and burns and loves the air, And splits a skull to win my praise; But up the nobly marching days She glitters naked, cold and fair.
Sweet Sister, grant your soldier this; That in good fury he may feel The body where he sets his heel Quail from your downward darting kiss.


by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Lamentations

 I found him in the guard-room at the Base.
From the blind darkness I had heard his crying And blundered in.
With puzzled, patient face A sergeant watched him; it was no good trying To stop it; for he howled and beat his chest.
And, all because his brother had gone west, Raved at the bleeding war; his rampant grief Moaned, shouted, sobbed, and choked, while he was kneeling Half-naked on the floor.
In my belief Such men have lost all patriotic feeling.