Twelve Months After
Hullo! here’s my platoon, the lot I had last year.
‘The war’ll be over soon.’
‘No bloody fear!’
Then, ‘Number Seven, ‘shun! All present and correct.’
They’re standing in the sun, impassive and erect.
Young Gibson with his grin; and Morgan, tired and white;
Jordan, who’s out to win a D.C.M. some night;
And Hughes that’s keen on wiring; and Davies (’79),
Who always must be firing at the Boche front line.
. . . .
‘Old soldiers never die; they simply fide a-why!’
That’s what they used to sing along the roads last spring;
That’s what they used to say before the push began;
That’s where they are to-day, knocked over to a man.
–Siegfried Sassoon, Counter-Attack and Other Poems, 1918