Thursday, 11 November 2010



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?
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you'll never forget.

Siegfried Sassoon


  1. i love this. thank you for sharing it.

  2. I've never read this before, thanks J.

  3. Great poem thanks. I was thinking today that my granddad is 90 and that most who fought with him and lived to come home and raise families have already passed away. I worry about how much harder it will be for us to remember when his generation is no longer here to share their stories, and what horrible consequences we will suffer if we forget. Canada's last WWI veteran died earlire this year at 109.

  4. It is a wonderful poem, isn't it? We learned several of Wilfred Owen's war poems at school, but Sassoon seemed to be out of fashion. This one doesn't have that tightly-controlled perfection of Owen's work - it seems almost clumsy at points, with the words spilling out as though he can't control them. And written with a hefty dose of survivor's guilt as well.

    @FM: The last British WW1 veteran died this year as well. I remember an interview with him the year before - although very frail, he still spoke with pride and passion about everything he and his comrades went through and was very conscious of his role in keeping the memories alive.