The author of The Lament Of The Demobilised, Vera Brittain, is best known for her memoirs, Testament of Youth. Vera worked as a nurse during World War I and the poem tells of her experiences when she came back. She lost her brother, two great friends and her fiance during the war, and the poem is full of bitterness and sarcasm.
'Four years,' some say consolingly. 'Oh well,
What's that ? You're young. And then it must have been
A very fine experience for you !'
And they forget
How others stayed behind and just got on -
Got on the better since we were away.
And we came home and found
They had achieved, and men revered their names,
But never mentioned ours;
And no-one talked heroics now, and we
Must just go back and start again once more.
'You threw four years into the melting-pot -
Did you indeed !' these others cry. 'Oh well,
The more fool you!'
And we're beginning to agree with them.