Remembrance Sunday: Siegfried Sassoon ‘At the Cenotaph’

by Richard on November 8, 2009

I saw the Prince of Darkness, with his Staff,
Standing bare-headed by the Cenotaph:
Unostentatious and respectful, there
He stood, and offered up the following prayer.
“Make them forget, O Lord, what this Memorial
Means; their discredited ideas revive;
Breed new belief that War is purgatorial
Proof of the pride and power of being alive;
Men’s biologic urge to readjust
The Map of Europe, Lord of Hosts, increase;
Lift up their hearts in large destructive lust;
And crown their heads with blind vindictive Peace.”
The Prince of Darkness to the Cenotaph
Bowed. As he walked away I heard him laugh.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1

J M Tomlinson 11.12.09 at 11:08 am

I remember this poem when I was a child, & I have been searching for it for ages, it is so true & so moving, every Nov I have thought of it again, if only more people could learn from the lesson it is telling. Thank you

2

Sam Sword 11.11.11 at 8:23 am

Many thanks for sharing this poem, I also read this one as a child and it stayed with me.

3

A Cosgrove 05.09.13 at 11:21 am

I read this poem as part of my English Literature ‘O’ level. It stirred me then and still to this day. It ignited my interest and appreciation of poetry, demonstrating how powerful it could be in communicating a message. The last line still makes me shudder.

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