Have you forgotten yet?

For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,

Like traffic checked awhile at the crossing of city-ways:

And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow

Like clouds in the lit heavens 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 piled 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 to 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’ll never forget.

by Siegfried Sassoon


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