Verse > Siegfried Sassoon > The Old Huntsman and Other Poems

Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967).  The Old Huntsman and Other Poems.  1918.

15. A Whispered Tale

I’D heard fool-heroes brag of where they’d been, 
With stories of the glories that they’d seen. 
But you, good simple soldier, seasoned well 
In woods and posts and crater-lines of hell, 
Who dodge remembered ‘crumps’ with wry grimace,         5
Endured experience in your queer, kind face, 
Fatigues and vigils haunting nerve-strained eyes, 
And both your brothers killed to make you wise; 
You had no babbling phrases; what you said 
Was like a message from the maimed and dead.  10
But memory brought the voice I knew, whose note 
Was muted when they shot you in the throat; 
And still you whisper of the war, and find 
Sour jokes for all those horrors left behind. 



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