When peace was declared in the trenches

This year I keep thinking about the Armistice. The war ended. Life resumed. There must have been many, many things that were never the same afterwards. Shattered lives can be pinched back together with effort and time, but some damage runs deep. Most families, after all, had someone who never came home.

I don’t know how you carry on, honestly, crawling out of hell and unspeakable horror, and bringing it home with you to find flowers, tablecloths and small talk.

They probably knew all that. Still, when peace was declared, they sang.

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

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