I’ve been writing a lot lately about my favourite First World War poet, Wilfred Owen, (here and here if you’re interested, or go check out the forthcoming Wilfred Owen film, the Burying Party on Facebook) but today I’m giving a shout out to his best friend and mentor, Siegfried Sassoon, who was born on this day in 1886. So in honour of his 131st birthday, here’s one of my favourite Sassoon poems.
The Dug-Out, July 1918
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-shadow’d from the candle’s guttering gold;
And you wonder why I shake you by the shoulder;
Drowsy, you mumble, sigh and turn your head….
You are too young to fall asleep forever;
And when you sleep, you remind me of the dead.
It’s not difficult to see why Owen idolised him. Happy birthday Mad Jack!
The banner picture above this blog is Formby beach. It was near here that Sassoon threw the ribbon of his Military Cross into the sea in 1917, shortly before he met Owen at Craiglockhart.