Siegfried Sassoon


Soldiers are citizens of death's grey land, 
  Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.   
In the great hour of destiny they stand, 
  Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.   
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win   
  Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives. 
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin 
  They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives. 

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats, 
  And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,   
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats, 
  And mocked by hopeless longing to regain   
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats, 
  And going to the office in the train.