SIEGFRIED SASSOON

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On Passing The New Menin Gate
by Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

 

Who will remember, passing through this Gate,
the unheroic dead who fed the guns?
Who shall absolve the foulness of their fate,-
Those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones?

Crudely renewed, the Salient holds its own.
Paid are its dim defenders by this pomp;
Paid, with a pile of peace-complacent stone,
The armies who endured that sullen swamp.

Here was the world’s worst wound. And here with pride
‘Their name liveth for ever’, the Gateway claims.
Was ever an immolation so belied
as these intolerably nameless names?
Well might the Dead who struggled in the slime
Rise and deride this sepulchre of crime.

 

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* The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown.

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