Poem of the Week – ‘Everyone Sang’, Siegfried Sassoon

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I was recommended this joyous poem, by Siegfried Sassoon, this week and wanted to share it with everyone. Sassoon was a prominent WW1 poet known for his passionate war poems. Everyone Sang is possibly his most famous, published in 1919. For a poem with such a jubilant and song-like tone, it was written in a less celebratory atmosphere. Sassoon commented on how he wrote the poem in his memoir, Siegfried’s Journey:

‘One evening in the middle of April, I had an experience which seems worth describing for those who are interested in methods of poetic production. It was a sultry spring night. I was feeling dull-minded and depressed, for no assignable reason. After sitting lethargically in the ground-floor room [at Weirleigh, his mother’s home] for about three hours after dinner, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing for it but to take my useless brain to bed. On my way from the arm-chair to the door I stood by the writing-table. A few words floated into my head as though from nowhere. In those days I was always on the look-out for a lyric – I wish I could say the same for my present self – so I picked up a pencil and wrote the words on a sheet of note-paper. Without sitting down, I added a second line. It was if I were remembering rather than thinking. In this mindless manner I wrote down my poem in a few minutes. When it was finished I read it through, with no sense of elation, merely wondering how I had come to be writing a poem when feeling so stupid.’

Clem (Year 12)