Does It Matter

World War One, Siegfried Sassoon, 1886-1967 Does it Matter DOES it matter?--losing your legs?...For people will always be kind,And you need not show that you mindWhen the others come in after huntingTo gobble their muffins and eggs. Does it matter?--losing your sight?...There's such splendid work for the blind;And people will always be kind,As you sit on the terrace rememberingAnd turning your face to the light.

Do they matter?--those dreams from the pit?...You can drink and forget and be glad,And people won't say that you're mad;For they'll know you've fought for your countryAnd no one will worry a bit.

Battalion-Relief 'FALL in! Now get a move on.' (Curse the rain.)We splash away along the straggling village,Out to the flat rich country, green with June...And sunset flares across wet crops and tillage,Blazing with splendour-patches. (Harvest soon,Up in the Line.) 'Perhaps the War'll be done'By Christmas-Day. Keep smiling then, old son.'

Here's the Canal: it's dusk; we cross the bridge.'Lead on there, by platoons.' (The Line's a-glareWith shell-fire through the poplars; distant rattleOf rifles and machine-guns.) 'Fritz is there!'Christ, ain't it lively, Sergeant? Is't a battle?'More rain: the lightning blinks, and thunder rumbles.'There's over-head artillery!' some chap grumbles.

What's all this mob at the cross-roads? Where are the guides?...'Lead on with number One.' And off they go.'Three minute intervals.' (Poor blundering files,Sweating and blindly burdened; who's to knowIf death will catch them in those two dark miles?)More rain. 'Lead on, Head-quarters.' (That's the lot.)'Who's that?... Oh, Sergeant-Major, don't get shot!'And tell me, have we won this war or not?'

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