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The poem “Everyone Sang” was written by Siegfried Sassoon. It is a simple poem about the happiness expressed by the people at the end of World War I. The people realised that the suffering was over and enjoyed their life as a bird freed from the cage. The poem was published in 1919.
About the Poet:
Siegfred Sassoon was born in September 1886. He was an English War Poet. Most of his poems focus on the reality of war and the lives of the soldiers. He is well known for his angry and compassionate poems on World war I. Despite being a poet, he was a novelist and political commentator. He received the “Queen’s Medal for Poetry” in 1957.
Sassoon is well known for his poems inspired from his experiences in World War I. The poems were published in three volumes: Picture-Show (1919), Counter-Attack and Other Poems (1918), and The Old Huntsman (1917).
Sassoon participated in World War I. He left to fight in France. But in 1916, he returned to recover from an illness. During this time he developed ties to several pacifists, including Bertrand Russell. In June 1917 he wrote a statement protesting the war. The statement was read aloud in the House of Commons. But, the poet Robert Graves helped him avoid a court martial through a diagnosis of neurasthenia. As a result, he was hospitalised at the Craiglockhart War Hospital. During this time he started writing war poems depicting the lives of the soldiers. Sassoon wrote this poem after 1918.
The poem “Everyone Sang” by Siegfried Sassoon is a simple poem of two stanzas. Each stanza contains five lines each. The stanza that consists of five lines is called quintains.
This poet has composed the poem “Everyone Sang” using both the iambic meter and the trochaic meter.
Speaker of the Poem:
The poet himself is the speaker of the poem. But, he is voicing out the happiness of people after World War I.
Tone of the Poem:
Throughout the poem, the tone is joy and relief. The speaker of the poem is expressing the happiness of other people. While, he is also expressing his own happiness and relief. This can be found in the second stanza where the poet uses first person pronouns to indicate the speaker’s feelings.
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Everyone suddenly burst out singing; And I was filled with such delight As prisoned birds must find in freedom, Winging wildly across the white Orchards and dark-green fields; on - on - and out of sight.
The speaker of the poem says all of a sudden everyone started singing. The song made the speaker’s heart fill with delight. In the next few lines he is making a comparison. He says, like a caged bird who attained freedom after so much struggle, the people attained relief at the end of World War I. The dark field which was once filled with the human bodies is now filled with white orchards. The people are now singing like birds to express their joy.
Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted; And beauty came like the setting sun: My heart was shaken with tears; and horror Drifted away ... O, but Everyone Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
In the second stanza, the speaker says that everyone’s voice started to rise while the sun started to set down. All who suffered a lot of pain in the world war I celebrated the end of war with their singing. Here, “the setting sun” metaphorically refers to the end of World War I. The speaker’s heart started shaking with tears while hearing the song. In the last few lines of the poem, he is again comparing the people to birds. The song is wordless. It means the song is expressing the unexpressed joy. And the speaker wishes that this song should never end.