April 13, 2011

Wonderment, by Siegfried Sassoon

I realized yesterday as I was doing the Proust Questionaire that I have never posted my second favorite poem, "Wonderment" by Siegfried Sassoon.  Sassoon was the less well known of the War Poets of WWI, but lived till he was in his 70s, and had a prolific career as a writer.  I recently inquired about whether there were any good biographies of him, and my former professor said it was always a desire of his to write one, why don't I do it?  Oh, Professor...perhaps in another life.  (P.S. Doesn't he look like Ben Cross in Chariots of Fire? J pointed this out to me, and now that's all I see.)


Then a wind blew;
And he who had forgot he moved
Lonely amid the green and silver morning weather,
Suddenly grew
Aware of clouds and trees
Gleaming and white and shafted, shaken together
And blown to music by the ruffling breeze.

Like flush of wings
The moment passed: he stood
Dazzled with blossom in the swaying wood;
Then he remembered how, through all swift things,
This mortal scene stands built of memories,—
Shaped by the wise
Who gazed in breathing wonderment,
And left us their brave eyes
To light the ways they went.
--Siegfried Sassoon


  1. this is lovely... it reminds me (not only because I have just started reading it again, but also because of the breathing and wonderment and all that lovely imagery) of the creation stories in the Silmarillion, and the Valar coming to earth to bring about its tangibility. Beautiful :)

  2. Ah! I still haven't read THE SILMARILLION, but yes!

  3. Much of Sassoon life is covered in the biography of his lover, Stephen Tennant, Serious Pleasures. Just a side note -- as an open gay man in the early 20th Century, he was demonized by much of society, including the church.