the archivist May 24, 2012


Siegfried Sassoon

(Limerick, 1 February 1918)

When I was young my heart and head were light,
And I was gay and feckless as a colt
Out in the fields, with morning in the may,
Wind on the grass, wings in the orchard bloom.
O thrilling sweet, my joy, when life was free
And all the paths led on from hawthorn-time
Across the carolling meadows into June.

But now my heart is heavy-laden. I sit
Burning my dreams away beside the fire:
For death has made me wise and bitter and strong;
And I am rich in all that I have lost.
O starshine on the fields of long-ago,

Bring me the darkness and the nightingale;
Dim wealds of vanished summer, peace of home,
and silence; and the faces of my friends.

Book Cover of the War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon
The War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon amzn | lib | bookshop

(RIP Paul Fussell, who introduced me to this poem and many others)