From Carole Ann Duffy’s Last Post:
You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.
The life cut short would always have been good. A life actually lived rarely compares.
That word, that “yet”, challenges us. Sassoon knows that we will forget, eventually, and the men who died at The Somme and elsewhere will eventually be known to us only as nameless fodder, much like the thousands who died at Waterloo. Too far back in history to be properly human. But no Seigfried, not yet, not while three men who fought in that war still roll down Whitehall in their chairs.
Well, Harry Patch and Henry Alligham are gone, and our own memories will start to fade. Its not the job of poets to rewrite history. Its enough for them to keep the memory strong.