Monday, March 30, 2009

you mumble and sigh and turn your head

Why do you lie with your legs ungainly huddled,
And one arm bent across your sullen cold
Exhausted face? It hurts my heart to watch you,
Deep-shadow'd from the candle's guttering gold;
And you wonder why I shake you by the shoulder;
Drowsy, you mumble and sigh and turn your head. . . .
You are too young to fall asleep for ever;
And when you sleep you remind me of the dead.

This is 'The Dug-Out' by Siegfried Sassoon, from Picture Show, (Privately-printed by the author, Cambridge, 1919). It is the 47th poem that T.E. Lawrence wrote out in Minorities, his pocket book of blank pages. The ellipsis is in the original printed version.

Some sources:

Minorities, by T E Lawrence; ed. by Jeremy Wilson (London, Cape, 1971).

Picture-show, by Siegfried Sassoon (New York, E. P. Dutton & Company, 1920)

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