Sunday, November 11, 2012

Owen's orisons...

"Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) is widely recognised as one of the greatest voices of the First World War. His self-appointed task was to speak for the men in his care, to show the 'Pity of War'." 
"'Anthem for Doomed Youth' is an elegy, a lament for the dead, a judgement on Owen’s experience of war rather than an account of the experience itself. Doomed youth is right. These were young men, some very young." Then and now...Lest we forget...

Link to World War One art

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
      Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
      Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,
      Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
      And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
      Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
      The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Like all great poetry it is so moving and all the more so because it isn't written as 'airy-fairy' stuff using clever metaphors each line is so powerful and paints a picture.

Struck me watching the Cenotaph this morning how never ending wars are and how the act of remembrance will continue for seemingly ever.