When You See Millions of the Mouthless Dead
Charles Sorley, (1895-1915)
  • Charles Sorley, a Scot from Aberdeen, was killed aged 20, at the Battle of Loos.
  • His body was lost, but his kit bag was found and sent home to his family.
  • They found this poem inside it.
  • Written in 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.
  • No 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 o'ercrowded 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 his for evermore.
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