The Rear Guard

608 Words3 Pages
The Rear Guard by Siegfried Sassoon This poem is about a soldier during World War 1, trying to make his way through a trench called Hindenburg Line. As the soldier was walking through the dark and narrow tunnel, he notices that there is a man laying on the ground near his feet. So the soldier kneels down and taps the man’s shoulder and states, “I’m looking for headquarters.” But the man never responds… So now the soldier tells the man to get up off the ground and guide him through this ‘stinking place’, but still there is no response from the man. Next, the soldier gets irritated and kicked the unresponsive man laying on the ground. Then, the soldier takes his light and shines it on the man which at this point he realizes that this man had died about 10 days beforehand and his eyes were staring up in the air with the very evil look of death on his face and also that the man’s fingers were wrapped around his wound. So at this point, the soldier stood up and continued in the direction he originally was going and finds the stairs out of the “hellhole” that he entered. The author of the poem describes the light coming down from the stairs into the trench as, “Dawn’s ghost that filtered down a shafted stair to the dazed, muttering creatures underground who hear the boom of shells in muffled sound.” As the soldier is climbing up the steps out of the trench, Siegfried Sassoon describes it as, “unloading hell behind him step by step”. The muttering creatures are the dead bodies that are probably laying around down in the trench and the many little animals that lived down there and fed on the corpses. First of all, Siegfried Sassoon served in the army from the beginning of the war. He lost his brother to it, a good friend, and also most of his army mates in the seemingly never ending attacks. He experienced so many things to the point it caused him to have many bad
Open Document