By Siegfried Sassoon
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards 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 Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
A poem for Remembrance Day from Poems from the First World War, compiled by Gaby Morgan.
The First World War inspired profound poetry – words in which the atmosphere and landscape of battle are evoked perhaps more vividly than anywhere else. The poets – many of whom were killed – show not only the war’s tragedy but the hopes and disappointments of a generation.
'It’s necessary to separate politics, even history, from the poetry. The work of the British First World War poets can be seen as one of the most powerful collective statements not just against what happened on the western front but against all war.' - Max Egremont, Some Desperate Glory
In honour of Armistice Day we've put together a collection of moving and powerful poems inspired by the First World War.
>>>The poetry of the First World War
Sign up to the Picador Friday poem email to receive a handpicked poem straight to your inbox each week.