Everyone Suddenly Burst Out Singing: Siegfried Sassoon

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, Everyone Sang

Sue Dymoke writes: Sassoon’s poem was written shortly after the signing of the signing of the Armistice treaty (on 11th November 1918) which ended the First World War. In two short stanzas Sassoon captures the elation and freedom which everyone caught up in the war must have felt to some extent when it finally ended. The poem is not triumphal though and, in its closing lines, pulls away from the joyful moment to make the reader think about the future. Interestingly the poet does not refer to specific people, dates, places or particular events in the poem but instead concentrates on sound to evoke the joy of release from the horror of war. When reading this poem for the first time it should not be necessary to give students too much contextual information. In that way they can concentrate on the words more fully and begin to ask questions about the poem for themselves. In most cases, it would be more appropriate to introduce other material to support in-depth study once students’ initial ideas have been explored.

From the website of The Poetry Archive

About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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