Wednesday, March 26

Poetry Corner: Suicide In the Trenches

I came across this video in the most convoluted way; I was on the IMDB page for the film 'Night At The Museum' and was reading a thread about the faceless civil war mannequins. I was going to comment that maybe it had a link to the concept a poem I had read for my English Lit A-Level about WW1 soldiers, something along the lines of 'I see the million faceless dead...', but I couldn't remember the name of the poem. In the end I ended up searching Siegfried Sassoon (the only war poet I remembered) and found this video of Pete Doherty reciting 'Suicide In The Trenches' which was one of the other poems, and my favourite, that I studied whilst doing war poetry.

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.

As I've mentioned before I know very little about politics, so I won't bore/irritate you with my lack of knowledge, but I think the poem is still very poignant and meaningful. I think Pete has an interesting, almost downbeat voice so I think it lends itself nicely to the poem. It really benefits from being read aloud, especially with the imagery of the second verse.

(Sidenote: This is the poem I meant, 'When You See Millions of the Mouthless Dead')

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