Siefried Sassoon


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SASSOON: Siegfried CBE MC

S Sassoon
Born: 8 September 1886, Matfield, Kent, United Kingdom
Died: 1 September 1967, Heytesbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

BRIEF BACKGROUND

Siegfried made his mark on World War One poetry by refusing to sentimentalise it. He tackled the subject head-on, sparing no-one with his brutal accounts of the horrors of trench war. He was critical and intensely contemptuous of those in the higher echelons of society who blindly supported the war, and often used satire to get his point across. He received the Military Cross and was injured. While recuperating, he fired off a letter to Parliament refusing to return to battle, becoming one of the first conscientious objectors. He escaped court-martial through the intervention of the poet Robert Graves, and was later hospitalised for shell shock (PTSD). It was here that he met, and inspired the young poet Wilfred Owen.

QUOTATIONS

“I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.”

“I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.”

POETRY (Better known)

Sick Leave: When I’m asleep, dreaming and lulled and warm, –
They come, the homeless ones, the noiseless dead.
The Dug-Out: Why do you lie with your legs ungainly huddled,
And one arm bent across your sullen, cold,
Exhausted face? It hurts my heart to watch you.