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(1893-1918 / Shropshire / England)

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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.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Thursday, June 30, 2011


Read poems about / on: anger, sad, flower, girl

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  • * Sunprincess * (3/14/2014 7:48:00 PM)

    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.

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Stephen W (3/9/2014 10:50:00 AM)

    @Manohar Bhatia: The drawing down of blinds was a mourning ritual in Britain in the old days. When someone died, their neighbours drew curtains or blinds as a display of respect.

  • Troy Ulysses Davis (11/6/2013 7:18:00 AM)

    A timeless poem. A critique of feudalism being passed down as if it's a rites of passage.

  • Manohar Bhatia (11/6/2013 6:51:00 AM)

    I like the last line___ { And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds}.The meaning is thus: : : In every windown, some women put venetian blinds so that the sun rays don't creep in and to keep the room pleasant and airy. Just as dusk settles in, this is compared to drawing-down of blinds......Oh! what an awesome metaphor? This poet is truly brilliant and I learnt something new from him.
    {Anthem For Doomed Youth} is truly an inspiring and an amazing poem to read. I salute Sir Wilfred Owen.
    Manohar Bhatia.

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (10/3/2013 9:21:00 AM)

    War - conceived by demented minds
    That sends youth to kill and die like flies
    Knowing not the worth of a human life
    All expendable in the raging devilish fires

  • Ronn Michael Salinas (7/21/2013 2:28:00 AM)

    The alliteration on the third line... Wow!

  • Lesley Gorton (5/16/2013 11:56:00 AM)

    An antidote to the glorification of war in the world today. Owen saw and suffered the futility and debasement of the human being; the loss of a generation and yet they are still at it. Anthem for doomed Youth brings the images and hopelessness of wholesale random death instantly to the minds eye.

  • Paul Anthony (11/29/2012 8:43:00 PM)

    The stupidity of war. And the sadness of it. So so sad

  • Jack Burman (11/6/2012 12:25:00 PM)

    I see it as the young soldiers' resignation to their fate.

  • Karen Sinclair (11/6/2012 2:02:00 AM)

    beautiful piece where it seems to me that Wilfred sees the fallen ones battlefield memorials (as such) are no more fitting and expected than the ones at home, of choirs and bugles...it seems he is saying it is all so un-natural....the last two lines just seem so accepting

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