November 11 – soldiers, citizens

soldiers, citizens
death’s grey land, dream of going
to work on the train.

32nd Division soldiers prepare for the Battle of Juvigny on Aug. 29, 1918

Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land,
Drawing no dividend from time’s to-morrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.

Dreamers – 1918, by Siegfried Sassoon published in Counter-Attack and Other Poems, EP Dutton, New York, NY

My Great Uncle, Peter DeYoung, wounded in action fighting with the 32nd Division at the Battle of Juvigny on Aug. 29, 1918

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