The Linnet's Wings The Sorrow - Page 83

1918-2018 would be silenced. This and the thought of skipping out of a battle, made him question his own motives. It was ironic too that it was whilst at Craiglockhart he met Wilfred Owen and they became friends. Sassoon became his mentor and encouraged him in his poetry and in many ways gave us one of the greatest voices of all the war poets. Owen went back to active duty and so did he. Though he still thought it futile, he very much wished to acquit himself well in this war. Another irony is that it was only through Wilfred Owen that I for one, came to Siegfried Sassoon. How many other voices were silenced forever by that war? We’ll never know. The final line of Mystic as Soldier says: O music through my clay, When will you sound again? ‘through my clay’ has interesting sociological and religious connotations. For many war dead there would be no grave. They were lost in the field. How could they then ‘rise again’ according to Christian belief? After that war, attitudes towards cremation drastically changed. The logic could not be tolerated that men who fought for their country would be lost forever to God! Sassoon answers his question at last, in Everyone Sang. He said that the poem ‘came to him’ and certainly Graves and others didn’t regard it as very good poetry, perhaps a little naive. But when a poem ‘comes’ to a poet, it doesn’t just appear out of a blank page and a blank mind. It comes from somewhere deep within and is informed by an evolved sensibility of expression. It is honed by experience. In this case the essence of birdness began in the innocence and birdsong of his Kent childhood (you can trace birds and music through many of his poems) and culminated post war, in this sudden chorus, a release of all the sorrow, joy and passionate anger brought on by such waste of life. It is a poem about making voices heard. First of all the song lifts his spirits: I was filled with such delight As prisoned birds must find in freedom, Winging wildly Here were men who longed to fly away, home to their loved ones, away from danger, sickening fear and the horrors of war. They were caught up in a situation they could not escape. Death was a release. The landscape of ‘white orchards’ like Eden and ‘dark fields’ Sassoon speaks of is reminiscent of his childhood Kent, but here it emblematic. Heaven was home and the battlefields were darker than Hell. In death this struggle between light and dark is left behind and so in the song, which lifts the spirits of the living and raises the dead. One can almost see a vast host of souls soaring together heavenward: on - on - and out ofsight 83