Siegried Sassoon

Exposure

You love us when we're heroes, home on leave,
Or wounded in a mentionable place.
You worship decorations; you believe
That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace.
You make us shells. You listen with delight;
By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled
You crown our distant ardours while we fight,
And mourn out laurelled memories when we're killed.
You can't believe that troops retire
When hell's last horror breaks them and they run,
Trampling the terrible corpses blind with blood.
O German mother dreaming by the fire,
While you are knitting socks to send to your son
His face is trodden deeper in the mud.