Over the past two radio-less journeys to work, I’ve spent the time memorising Siegfried Sassoon’s ‘Everyone Sang’, a poem he wrote about the moment the ceasefire was declared at the end of WW1. Though Sassoon was back in England by the Armistice, it’s the men in the trenches I visualise in these verses. What must they have felt at the prospect of beginning life without war? According to Sassoon, they 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
Orchard 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 every one
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing
will never be done.
This is one of those poems that sound like music, and that make your own concerns negligible under their lovely weight. Worth having in your head any day of the week.