Poetry 3 July 2014 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. Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML 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 › David Cameron to urge “silent majority” of Union supporters in Scotland to speak up Subscribe This article first appeared in the 25 June 2014 issue of the New Statesman, Who was Franz Ferdinand? More Related articles How A Series Of Unfortunate Events went from a children’s book to a postmodern masterpiece Counting the ways: what Virgin and Other Stories teaches us about want What can a new book of Holocaust testimony tell us about the Third Reich?