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Best Famous Siegfried Sassoon Poems

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Written by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Haunted

EVENING was in the wood, louring with storm.
A time of drought had sucked the weedy pool And baked the channels; birds had done with song.
Thirst was a dream of fountains in the moon, Or willow-music blown across the water 5 Leisurely sliding on by weir and mill.
Uneasy was the man who wandered, brooding, His face a little whiter than the dusk.
A drone of sultry wings flicker¡¯d in his head.
The end of sunset burning thro¡¯ the boughs 10 Died in a smear of red; exhausted hours Cumber¡¯d, and ugly sorrows hemmed him in.
He thought: ¡®Somewhere there¡¯s thunder,¡¯ as he strove To shake off dread; he dared not look behind him, But stood, the sweat of horror on his face.
15 He blunder¡¯d down a path, trampling on thistles, In sudden race to leave the ghostly trees.
And: ¡®Soon I¡¯ll be in open fields,¡¯ he thought, And half remembered starlight on the meadows, Scent of mown grass and voices of tired men, 20 Fading along the field-paths; home and sleep And cool-swept upland spaces, whispering leaves, And far off the long churring night-jar¡¯s note.
But something in the wood, trying to daunt him, Led him confused in circles through the thicket.
25 He was forgetting his old wretched folly, And freedom was his need; his throat was choking.
Barbed brambles gripped and clawed him round his legs, And he floundered over snags and hidden stumps.
Mumbling: ¡®I will get out! I must get out!¡¯ 30 Butting and thrusting up the baffling gloom, Pausing to listen in a space ¡¯twixt thorns, He peers around with peering, frantic eyes.
An evil creature in the twilight looping, Flapped blindly in his face.
Beating it off, 35 He screeched in terror, and straightway something clambered Heavily from an oak, and dropped, bent double, To shamble at him zigzag, squat and bestial.
Headlong he charges down the wood, and falls With roaring brain¡ªagony¡ªthe snap¡¯t spark¡ª 40 And blots of green and purple in his eyes.
Then the slow fingers groping on his neck, And at his heart the strangling clasp of death.


Written 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.


Written 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.


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Written 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.


Written by Siegfried Sassoon | |

Morning Express

ALONG the wind-swept platform pinched and white 
The travellers stand in pools of wintry light 
Offering themselves to morn¡¯s long slanting arrows.
The train¡¯s due; porters trundle laden barrows.
The train steams in volleying resplendent clouds 5 Of sun-blown vapour.
Hither and about Scared people hurry storming the doors in crowds.
The officials seem to waken with a shout Resolved to hoist and plunder; some to the vans Leap; others rumble the milk in gleaming cans.
10 Boys indolent-eyed from baskets leaning back Question each face; a man with a hammer steals Stooping from coach to coach; with clang and clack Touches and tests and listens to the wheels.
Guard sounds a warning whistle points to the clock 15 With brandished flag and on his folded flock Claps the last door: the monster grunts: ¡®Enough!¡¯ Tightening his load of links with pant and puff.
Under the arch then forth into blue day Glide the processional windows on their way 20 And glimpse the stately folk who sit at ease To view the world like kings taking the seas in prosperous weather: drifting banners tell Their progress to the counties; with them goes The clamour of their journeying; while those 25 Who sped them stand to wave a last farewell.


Written 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.


Written 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.


Written 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.


Written 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.


Written 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.


Written 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.


Written 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.


Written by Wilfred Owen | |

Wild With All Regrets

 (Another version of "A Terre".
) To Siegfried Sassoon My arms have mutinied against me -- brutes! My fingers fidget like ten idle brats, My back's been stiff for hours, damned hours.
Death never gives his squad a Stand-at-ease.
I can't read.
There: it's no use.
Take your book.
A short life and a merry one, my buck! We said we'd hate to grow dead old.
But now, Not to live old seems awful: not to renew My boyhood with my boys, and teach 'em hitting, Shooting and hunting, -- all the arts of hurting! -- Well, that's what I learnt.
That, and making money.
Your fifty years in store seem none too many; But I've five minutes.
God! For just two years To help myself to this good air of yours! One Spring! Is one too hard to spare? Too long? Spring air would find its own way to my lung, And grow me legs as quick as lilac-shoots.
Yes, there's the orderly.
He'll change the sheets When I'm lugged out, oh, couldn't I do that? Here in this coffin of a bed, I've thought I'd like to kneel and sweep his floors for ever, -- And ask no nights off when the bustle's over, For I'd enjoy the dirt; who's prejudiced Against a grimed hand when his own's quite dust, -- Less live than specks that in the sun-shafts turn? Dear dust, -- in rooms, on roads, on faces' tan! I'd love to be a sweep's boy, black as Town; Yes, or a muckman.
Must I be his load? A flea would do.
If one chap wasn't bloody, Or went stone-cold, I'd find another body.
Which I shan't manage now.
Unless it's yours.
I shall stay in you, friend, for some few hours.
You'll feel my heavy spirit chill your chest, And climb your throat on sobs, until it's chased On sighs, and wiped from off your lips by wind.
I think on your rich breathing, brother, I'll be weaned To do without what blood remained me from my wound.
5th December 1917.


Written 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.


Written 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.