Aftermath, By Siegfried Sassoon

Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day to commemorate that at 11:00 0’Clock on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 a formal armistice was concluded ending hostilities of the greatest conflagration and warfare in world history up to that point. This grim sardonic poem, Aftermath, captures the senseless tragedy and banal futility of that conflict.

Aftermath, By Siegfried Sassoon

Have you forgotten yet?…

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

Like traffic checked a while at the crossing of city ways:

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 and 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-gray

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.


1:02 am on November 11, 2022