11.4.2022 – to world’s end I went

to world’s end I went
in my torment and music
dawned above despair

Adapted from the poem, Secret Music, by Siegfried Sassoon as published in Collected Poems, Faber and Faber Limited, London, 1947.

I keep such music in my brain
No din this side of death can quell;
Glory exulting over pain,
And beauty, garlanded in hell.

My dreaming spirit will not heed
The roar of guns that would destroy
My life that on the gloom can read
Proud-surging melodies of joy.

To the world’s end I went, and found
Death in his carnival of glare;
But in my torment I was crowned,
And music dawned above despair.

Mr. Sassoon was a war poet.

A World War One poet.

A British World War One poet.

According to Wikipedia, one of those poets, whose work combined stark realism and bitter irony with a sense of tragic futility.

Stark realism.

Bitter irony.

Sense of tragic futility.

I recently came across of discussion of the World War One poets that included the observation that the sky had a very prominent role across the body of work of these poets.

The point was made that when you are in a trench 15 feet wide and 15 feet deep, the sky is the only thing you see.

It is easy to imagine how such a view, which combined with stark realism and bitter irony with a sense of tragic futility led to the dark poetry of the war.

The view though, did not create those feelings of stark realism and bitter irony with a sense of tragic futility.

I put it out there that neither did the war nor the war in the trenches, create the feelings of stark realism and bitter irony with a sense of tragic futility.

The war experience most likely put those feelings into bright contrast and made them stand out.

I hear though the words of Mr. Thoreau when he wrote that Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.

All those thoughts together, the quiet desperation, the stark realism, the bitter irony with a sense of tragic futility.

Those thoughts and feelings are there.

I have no answers.

And there are no words.

To the world’s end I went, and found
Death in his carnival of glare;
But in my torment I was crowned,
And music dawned above despair.

James Robert Hoffman 1978 – 2022

Please read my Nephews memorial – click here.

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