9th Grade English

Barbara Huckabay
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Ninth Grade Assignment Due Friday, October 11

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Three poems by Siegfried Sassoon


The anguish of the earth absolves our eyes  
Till beauty shines in all that we can see.  
War is our scourge; yet war has made us wise, 
And, fighting for our freedom, we are free.

Horror of wounds and anger at the foe,
And loss of things desired; all these must pass.
We are the happy legion, for we know                                A  legion is a large group of soldiers
Time’s but a golden wind that shakes the grass.

There was an hour when we were loath to part                Loath means reluctant.
From life we longed to share no less than others.
Now, having claimed this heritage of heart,   
What need we more, my comrades and my brothers?


Stand-to:  Good Friday Morning

I’d been on duty from two till four.
I went and stared at the dug-out door.
Down in the frowst I heard them snore.
‘Stand to!’ Somebody grunted and swore.
Dawn was misty; the skies were still;
Larks were singing, discordant, shrill; 
They seemed happy; but I felt ill.
Deep in water I splashed my way
Up the trench to our bogged front line.                             Bogged means wet and spongy.
Rain had fallen the whole damned night.
O Jesus, send me a wound today,
And I’ll believe in Your bread and wine,
And get my bloody old sins washed white.

Base Details

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base.  
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.  
You’d see me with my puffy petulant face, 
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel  
Reading the Roll of Honor. ‘Poor young chap,’ 
I’d say -- ‘I used to know his father well;  
Yes, we’ve lost heavily in this last scrap.’  
And when the war is done and youth stone dead.
I’d toddle safely home and die -- in bed.

“Scarlet Majors” were staff officers who served in safety behind the lines and war red bands on their caps. 

Study Questions
Type or write neatly and IN INK.  Use complete sentences.

1. Why does Sassoon call his fellow soldiers “the happy legion”?  What do they have to be happy about?

2. Why does the soldier in Good Friday ask Jesus to send him a wound?

3. What is the physical condition of the officer who speaks in the last poem?  What words does Sassoon use to create this picture?

4. Which poem would Rupert Brooke be most likely to agree with?  Why?

5. Which poem would Rupert Brooke be most likely to disagree with or be shocked by? Why?