#1 - Before Day
Siegfried Sassoon, best known for his outspoken opinions on the futility of war, is portrayed in these poems as an observer, an observer of the wonder and beauty of life and an admirer of innocence, the innocence of youth, of nature, of all that remains as yet unexposed to the realism of mankind's brutality, inhumanity and penchant for armed conflict to assuage a mad hunger for vengeance.
This set of poems explores aspects of Sassoon that are essential in an attempt to understand the soldier, lover and humanitarian that he was. Foremost a warrior, he was a decorated fighter who would discover on the battlefield a grim microcosm of life itself and be compelled to put into words his observations. He was also a lover who portrayed in his poems the virtuousness of youth and the beauty of nature, but ever lurking beneath the surface in these portrayals was a darkness, a foreboding, an inevitability that the innocence he observed would soon be followed by the disillusionment he himself had experienced. Sassoon was all too familiar with the soldier's obligation to kill or be killed and sense of patriotic duty, but he was also familiar - and intimately so - with the effect that deprivation, loss, loneliness, agony and exhaustion can have on even the most resilient of souls.
This is a collection of poems about war and its atrocities, but it is also a collection of a poet's thoughts about the evolution of a human being - the progression of a man from the idealism of youth to one hardened by the mental and physical scars of combat. It is a journey from dream to disillusion, from idealism to despair, from beauty to horror - all expertly represented in these poems of exploration and introspection, "For I am lone, a dweller among men / Hungered for what my heart shall never say."
- Summary by Bruce Kachuk
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