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A poem by Siegfried Sassoon


Title:     Aftermath
Author: Siegfried Sassoon [More Titles by Sassoon]

_Have you forgotten yet?..._
For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked awhile at the crossing of city ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heavens 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._

[The end]
Siegfried Sassoon's poem: Aftermath