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Shakespeare, William - Sonnet 18 Print E-mail

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd:
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

 
Seeger, Alan - I Have a Rendezvous with Death Print E-mail

Alan Seeger (1888-1916)

I Have a Rendezvous with Death

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air —
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath —
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear . . .
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.


Seeger was an American citizen who joined the Foeign Legion in 1914 to fight for the Allied Powers.  He was killed in action on 4th July 1916, a year before the US declared war to join the fight.  He was buried at Belloy-en-Santerre, France.

 
Scott of Amwell, John - The Drum Print E-mail

John Scott of Amwell (1730-1783)

The Drum

I HATE that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
And lures from cities and from fields,
To sell their liberty for charms
Of tawdry lace, and glittering arms;
And when Ambition's voice commands,
To march, and fight, and fall, in foreign lands.

I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To me it talks of ravaged plains,
And burning towns, and ruined swains,
And mangled limbs, and dying groans,
And widows' tears, and orphans' moans;
And all that Misery's hand bestows.
To fill the catalogue of human woes.

 
Sassoon, Siegfried - Suicide in the Trenches Print E-mail

Siegfried Sassoon 

Suicide in the Trenches

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

 
Sassoon, Siegfried - Everyone Sang Print E-mail

Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

Everyone Sang

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on — on — and out of sight.
Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away . . . O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

 
Sanders, Peter A - Tripoli Print E-mail

Peter A Sanders

Tripoli

I've a mouth like a parrot's cage
And a roaring thirst inside,
My liver's a swollen, sullen rage —
Last night I was blind to the wide.

Canned as an owl, last night,
Drunk as a fiddler's bitch,
Oiled and stewed and pissed and tight,
Sewn-up, asleep in a ditch.

I can't remember much
And I wouldn't remember more
For vino gave me the golden touch
And a wit like Bernard Shaw's.

I'm rather weak at the knee
And not too strong in the head
But last night angels sang to me
And the world was a rosy red!

 
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