Siegfried Sassoon: Sketch (2) 2023

One of my favorite War Poets, Siegfried Sassoon at first an enthusiastic soldier, soon became disillusioned with the horror and futility of the fighting on the Western Front. His younger brother Hamo died in 1915 at Gallipoli and this loss no doubt profoundly contributed to his change of heart. Here is my portrait of Siegfried Sassoon and his poem: Glory of Women, written in 1917. It is a response to the way women (and the civilian public in general) wish their men to go off to the war and be heroes.

The Glory Of Women by Siegfried Sassoon

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.

Oh German mother dreaming by the fire,
While you are knitting socks to send your son
His face is trodden deeper in the mud.

16 thoughts on “Siegfried Sassoon: Sketch (2) 2023

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