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.
from Collected Poems 1908 - 1956 (Faber, 1961), copyright 1918, 1920 by E P Dutton, copyright © 1936, 1946, 1947, 1948 by Siegfried Sassoon, by permission of Barbara Levy as agent for George Sassoon. Poem featured in the Poetry Archive's BBC 100 Collection.