THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR
...those ashen-grey masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay...
Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz—
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench—
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'
Do you remember that hour of din before the attack—
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads— those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?
Have you forgotten yet...?
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you'll never forget.
(poem by Siegfried Sassoon, March 1919)