Sunday, November 09, 2008

Everyone sang

posted by Brit

Something for Remembrance Sunday, now. Poetry can do a lot of things, and this does a lot of them.


  1. That's too much Brit, Sassoons story, the saddest of all.
    In a tiny borders village stands a memorial, the number of names carved on it greater than the present population. Those 5 years should never, ever be lost from Europe's memory, lest it starts all over again.

  2. Poor man -- he had to bear survivor's guilt for so many lost companions. I believe many of those WW I volunteers like Sassoon thought they were going to a war akin to the Iliad -- the text they'd all been raised on in their grammar schools; the text that elevated the nobility of war and warriors. But those trenches, the shell shock, and the mustard gas bore little resemblance to the stylized battles of Trojans and Greeks. But perhaps some of the friendships there did mimic Achilles and Patroclus. Sassoon and Owen, for example.

    Sometimes it takes a woman to see it most clearly. Vera Brittain's "Testament of Youth" gets my vote as best memoir of WW I.