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Private David Jones, the 15th (1st London Welsh) Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers

THIS WRITING IS FOR MY FRIENDS IN MIND OF ALL COMMON AND HIDDEN MEN … AND TO THE ENEMY FRONT-FIGHTERS WHO SHARED OUR PAINS AGAINST...

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Have you forgotten yet? Afermath by Siegfried Sassoon

For me the most poignant part of the Somme Commemoration from Thiepval was Charles Dance, standing under the great arch and reading Aftermath by Siegfried Sassoon.


Aftermath
    Have you forgotten yet?...
    For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
    Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city ways:
    And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
    Like clouds in the lit heaven 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 pulled 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 will never forget.


 
    March 1919.

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