Siegfried Sassoon

(1886 - 1967 / Kent / England)

A Letter Home - Poem by Siegfried Sassoon

(To Robert Graves)

I

Here I'm sitting in the gloom
Of my quiet attic room.
France goes rolling all around,
Fledged with forest May has crowned.
And I puff my pipe, calm-hearted,
Thinking how the fighting started,
Wondering when we'll ever end it,
Back to hell with Kaiser sent it,
Gag the noise, pack up and go,
Clockwork soldiers in a row.
I've got better things to do
Than to waste my time on you.

II

Robert, when I drowse to-night,
Skirting lawns of sleep to chase
Shifting dreams in mazy light,
Somewhere then I'll see your face
Turning back to bid me follow
Where I wag my arms and hollo,
Over hedges hasting after
Crooked smile and baffling laughter,
Running tireless, floating, leaping,
Down your web-hung woods and valleys,
Where the glowworm stars are peeping,
Till I find you, quiet as stone
On a hill-top all alone,
Staring outward, gravely pondering
Jumbled leagues of hillock-wandering.

III

You and I have walked together
In the starving winter weather.
We've been glad because we knew
Time's too short and friends are few.
We've been sad because we missed
One whose yellow head was kissed
By the gods, who thought about him
Till they couldn't do without him.
Now he's here again; I've been
Soldier David dressed in green,
Standing in a wood that swings
To the madrigal he sings.
He's come back, all mirth and glory,
Like the prince in a fairy tory.
Winter called him far away;
Blossoms bring him home with May.

IV

Well, I know you'll swear it's true
That you found him decked in blue
Striding up through morning-land
With a cloud on either hand.
Out in Wales, you'll say, he marches
Arm-in-arm with aoks and larches;
Hides all night in hilly nooks,
Laughs at dawn in tumbling brooks.
Yet, it's certain, here he teaches
Outpost-schemes to groups of beeches.
And I'm sure, as here I stand,
That he shines through every land,
That he sings in every place
Where we're thinking of his face.

V

Robert, there's a war in France;
Everywhere men bang and blunder,
Sweat and swear and worship Chance,
Creep and blink through cannon thunder.
Rifles crack and bullets flick,
Sing and hum like hornet-swarms.
Bones are smashed and buried quick.
Yet, through stunning battle storms,
All the while I watch the spark
Lit to guide me; for I know
Dreams will triumph, though the dark
Scowls above me where I go.
You can hear me; you can mingle
Radiant folly with my jingle.
War's a joke for me and you
While we know such dreams are true!


Comments about A Letter Home by Siegfried Sassoon

  • Susan Williams (5/1/2017 5:19:00 PM)


    It's not very often that a poem brings me to my knees, heart pounding, soul in distress. Beautifully written verses, readers waiting in agony to hear the soldiers' return. Absolutely top-notch literature here. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Bernard F. Asuncion (5/1/2017 3:37:00 AM)


    Quiet as stone..... thanks for posting..... (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (5/1/2017 3:34:00 AM)


    a descriptive and colourful poem of a time gone blast and of the people who new it would not last? ......well written. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (5/1/2017 2:24:00 AM)


    Attic room! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (5/1/2017 1:32:00 AM)


    Running tireless, floating, leaping,
    Down your web-hung woods and valleys,
    Where the glowworm stars are peeping,
    Till I find you, quiet as stone
    On a hill-top all alone,
    Staring outward, ...................................................... Siegfried Sassoon, a poet Romantic Realist. Intense the passion of chasing beauty indifferent in objects to catch and not to catch, classical or not the mark, no problem, just to give the objects a height which it generally deserves not. Beautiful the posted one. Thanks.
    (Report) Reply

  • john tiong chunghoo (7/2/2006 7:22:00 AM)


    lovely siegfried. i love it. the way you care to describe your experiences. (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »
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Read poems about / on: winter, war, fairy, soldier, weather, running, laughter, sad, home, together, smile, green, sleep, night, alone, dark, light, kiss, dream, friend



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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