Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Poetry: Wilfred Owen

Anthem for Doomed Youth

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.

Wilfred Owen


Anonymous flotsam said...

It's the last line that does it: "And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds." Perfectly regular iambic cadence imposed on a perfectly horrible, ongoing nightmare for those left behind at home - the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of the poor bastards who died as cattle. Cannon fodder for a war of choice. Plus ├ža change....

9:33 AM  

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