Siegfried Sassoon on youth and laughter

On this date in 1917 American soldiers saw action for the first time on the front lines of France.

From that struggle I can think of no more poignant words than this short verse penned by Siegfried Sassoon.

Suicide in the Trenches –

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.


4 thoughts on “Siegfried Sassoon on youth and laughter

  1. This is not about capitalism, or a damning indictment of war…it is the realisation that those who have not been to war will never understand those who have…and really do not want to know the horror of war…just the civilian side of war….

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