BookViral on Siegfried Sassoon, Poppy Day and War Poems.
With Remembrance Day fast approaching, the usual observances begin-the donations for poppies and the proud display of them on lapels, the ceremonies laying wreaths around remembrance monuments, the minutes silence-but in amongst all this business of observance, and even as those 60 seconds tick away, do we truly understand the agonies, the emotions and the complexities of war and conflict.
One man who was able to size up war for everything it is was Siegfried Sassoon, who was cruelly torn from a life of leisure as a country gentleman and immersed into all the trauma of World War 1. His understanding of the impact of war, particularly on the individual, is eloquently shaped in his poetry. Poems such as `The Death Bed`, and `The Glory of Women`, force us to consider different perspectives of war, while others narrate miserable torturous accounts on the battlefield, or beseech generals, politicians and churchmen to cease their blind support of war. When reading `The General`, one cannot fail to conjure up the man himself, all blustering friendliness and incompetence. The value of this stark but descriptive poetry serves a purpose. This being that whilst we honour sacrifice and lives lost, we do not fall into the trap of viewing war as a panacea, a cure-all or a necessity. His poetry shares the perspective of war from difference standpoints, using many frames of reference, thus building understanding and compassion for all those affected whatever their situation, belief or motivation.
The writing of war poetry is not so fashionable in current times. However, there are some collections that provide surprising insight into both traditional and current warfare and conflict. One such is `The Fallen` a compilation written by Stephan j Myers and Pixie Woodstock. They write in a similar vein, exploring the effect of war on individuals, groups and the human race, and build emotionally charged snapshots of the mental anguish wrought by war on men, women and children alike.
We pray the sacrifice of these individual not be repeated time and time again, but that we move forward to more peaceful solutions to conflict.