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Thursday, July 25, 2002

Journal Entry: Re: "Ghost of Sorley"

Perhaps I have solved the mystery in the Robert Graves poem--who is Sorley? I suspect he is referring to Charles Hamilton Sorley (1895-1915). He was a poet and scholar and casuality of WWI. Thirty-seven poems were found in his kit when he died. Here's one:

When You See Millions Of The Mouthless Dead (1915)

When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
Say not soft things as other men have said,
That you'll remember. For you need not so.
Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know
It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?
Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.
Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.
Say only this, "They are dead." Then add thereto,
"yet many a better one has died before."
Then, scanning all the overcrowded mass, should you
Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,
It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.
Great death has made all this for evermore.

Read more about him at http://www.firstworldwar.com/poetsandprose/sorley.htm; but it's very sad.

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