The War Poets 2: The Hero by Siegfried Sassoon

Favorite Poems translated to Dutch

The Hero by Siegfried Sassoon


Jack fell as he’d have wished,’ the Mother said,

And folded up the letter that she’d read.

‘The Colonel writes so nicely.’ Something broke

In the tired voice that quavered to a choke.

She half looked up. ‘We mothers are so proud

Of our dead soldiers.’ Then her face was bowed.

Quietly the Brother Officer went out.

He’d told the poor old dear some gallant lies

That she would nourish all her days, no doubt.

For while he coughed and mumbled, her weak eyes

Had shone with gentle triumph, brimmed with joy,

Because he’d been so brave, her glorious boy.

He thought how ‘Jack’, cold-footed, useless swine,

Had panicked down the trench that night the mine

Went up at Wicked Corner; how he’d tried

To get sent home, and how, at last, he died,

Blown to small bits. And no one seemed to care

Except that lonely woman with white hair.


De Held, door Siegfried Sassoon

translation N.Visser

De moeder zei, ‘Sjakie stierf zoals hij wilde, volprezen.’"

En vouwde de brief op die ze net had gelezen.

'De kolonel schrijft zo vrindelijk.’ Iets brak

In de vermoeide stem, deze trilde even zwak.

Ze keek half op. ‘Trots op onze gevallen helden

zijn wij moeders,’ wist ze nog zacht the melden.

Daarna vertrok de officier still en versneld,

Hij had het oudje leugens op de mouw gespeld,

Die zij ongetwijfeld in haar hart koesterde.

Want terwijl hij kuchende voorploeterde,

Scheen zachte triomf en trots in haar oog:

Haar dappere jong die als held naar de hemel toog.

Hij dacht aan ‘Sjakie’, nutteloos stom rund,

Die nacht in de loopgraaf bij het Helse Punt,

blies de mijn, en Sjakie was in paniek geraakt,

en gillend stierf hij die zijn plichten had verzaakt,

in vele stukjes gereten, geen mens gaf een snik

behalve dat eenzame vrouwtje met haar trotse blik.

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Comments 2 comments

jjackson786 profile image

jjackson786 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

What a thought-provoking poem. I think that I have briefly stumbled across some of Sassoon's works, but I will definitely look into him more now!


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

He was an officer in WW1, fought at the front, saw horrendous things, he used his poetry as a way to protest against the mindnumbing slaughter in the trenches. He was also a friend of Wilfred Owen, who wrote much more graphically about life at the front. This is mild stuff in comparison.

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