Siegfried Sassoon

How To Die

Dark clouds are smouldering into red   
   While down the craters morning burns.  
The dying soldier shifts his head   
   To watch the glory that returns:
He lifts his fingers toward the skies   
   Where holy brightness breaks in flame;  
Radiance reflected in his eyes,  
   And on his lips a whispered name.  
You’d think, to hear some people talk,  
   That lads go West with sobs and curses,   
And sullen faces white as chalk,  
   Hankering for wreaths and tombs and hearses.   
But they’ve been taught the way to do it  
   Like Christian soldiers; not with haste  
And shuddering groans; but passing through it  
   With due regard for decent taste.