Tomorrow, as I'm sure everyone is aware, is National Poetry Day. Over on Musings from a Muddy Island Juliet has posted some poems about geese and that leads me via a tortuous route to Siegfried Sassoon. Following some of her links to goose-related sites, I stumbled upon an Irish-American society called Wild Geese and I found an article on their website about Sassoon. That reminded me of a visit to King's Theatre in Portsmouth in 1987 to see a wonderful one-man show by Peter Barkworth, called simply Siegfried Sassoon.
I offer no apology, if you didn't know before why my blog is called Random Distractions, you certainly do now!
The show was simple but very powerful. Peter Barkworth portrayed Sassoon's experiences of war, hospital and return to civilian life through extracts from his poetry and prose. The evening ended with one of those rare dramatic experiences where the audience is moved to a tangible silence. This is the poem that affected everyone so deeply:
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on--on--and out of sight.
Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away . . . O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)
That is my contribution to National Poetry Day. If you would like to name a favourite, I'll include as many as possible in my next post.