Siegfried Sassoon’s 1918 poetry from Palestine still poignant and relevant today

Sassoon-Siegfried-243x366On the rock-strewn hills I heard
The anger of guns that shook
Echoes along the glen.
In my heart was the song of a bird,
And the sorrowless tale of the brook,
And scorn for the deeds of men.

SIEGFRIED SASSOON wrote these words not on the Somme but in Palestine, where he was posted for a little over a month in the spring of 1918. He could easily be talking about the vicious war raging across Israel and Gaza’s rocket-strewn hills today. What better time to recall this half-Jewish poet’s Palestinian interlude and searing war poetry than in the midst of a war whose political seeds were sown a hundred years ago, during the First World War, when the bones of the Ottoman Empire were being broken and reset into new mandates and promised lands.

Read Nina Martyris’s reflections on Sassoon’s poetry from Palestine in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

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