The NS First World War poems: Siegfried Sassoon

Sassoon (or “Sashûn”, as he signed himself here) was one of only a handful of Great War poets who survived the fighting. This poem was first published in the New Statesman of 22 May 1926.

To One Who Was With Me in the War

It was too long ago—that Company which we served with . . .
We call it back in visual fragments, you and I,
Who seem, ourselves, like relics casually preserved, with
Our mindfulness of old bombardments when the sky
With blundering din blinked cavernous.
                Yet a sense of power
Invades us when, recapturing an ungodly hour
Of ante-zero crisis, in one thought we’ve met
To stand in some redoubt of Time,—to share again
All but the actual wetness of the flare-lit rain,
All but the living presences who haunt us yet
With gloom-patrolling eyes.
                Remembering, we forget
Much that was monstrous, much that clogged our souls with clay
When hours were guides who led us by the longest way—
And when the worst had been endured could still disclose
Another worst to thwart us . . .
                We forget our fear . . .
And, while the uncouth Event begins to lour less near,
Discern the mad magnificence whose storm-light throws
Wild shadows on these after-thoughts that send your brain
Back beyond Peace, exploring sunken ruinous roads.
Your brain, with files of flitting forms, hump-backed with loads,
On its own helmet hears the tinkling drops of rain,—
Follows to an end some night-relief, and strangely sees
The quiet no-man’s-land of day-break, jagg’d with trees
That loom like giant Germans . . .
                I’ll go with you, then,
Since you must play this game of ghosts. At listening-posts
We’ll peer across dim craters; joke with jaded men
Whose names we’ve long forgotten. (Stoop low here; it’s the place
The sniper enfilades.) Round the next bay you’ll meet
A drenched platoon-commander; chilled, he drums his feet
On squelching duck-boards; winds his wrist-watch; turns his head,
And shows you how you looked,—your ten-years-vanished face
Hoping the War will end next week . . .
                What’s that you said?
                            Sigma Sashûn

This article first appeared in the 25 June 2014 issue of the New Statesman, Who was Franz Ferdinand?

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SRSLY #77: Unfortunate Events / The Worst Witch / Speed Dial

On the pop culture podcast this week: we discuss the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the new CBBC version of The Worst Witch and the MTV podcast Speed Dial.

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online.

Listen using the player below. . .

. . .or subscribe in iTunes. We’re also on StitcherRSS and SoundCloud – but if you use a podcast app that we’re not appearing in, let us know.

SRSLY is hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s assistant editor and editorial assistant. We’re on Twitter as @c_crampton and @annaleszkie, where between us we post a heady mixture of Serious Journalism, excellent gifs and regularly ask questions J K Rowling needs to answer.

The Links

A Series of Unfortunate Events

The trailer for the series. 

Anna's piece on the postmodern aspects of the show.

Neil Patrick Harris' opening number for the 2011 Tonys.

The Worst Witch

The trailer.

How the show discusses imposter syndrome among young women.

Speed Dial

Subscribe to the podcast.

Follow Ira Madison III and Doreen St Felix on Twitter.

For next time:

Anna is watching Silicon Valley.

If you’d like to talk to us about the podcast or make a suggestion for something we should read or cover, you can email srslypod[at]gmail.com.

You can also find us on Twitter @srslypod, or send us your thoughts on tumblr here. If you like the podcast, we’d love you to leave a review on iTunes - this helps other people come across it.

We love reading out your emails. If you have thoughts you want to share on anything we’ve discussed, or questions you want to ask us, please email us on srslypod[at]gmail.com, or @ us on Twitter @srslypod, or get in touch via tumblr here. We also have Facebook now.

Our theme music is “Guatemala - Panama March” (by Heftone Banjo Orchestra), licensed under Creative Commons. 

See you next week!

PS If you missed #76, check it out here.