Wilfred Owen

(1893-1918 / Shropshire / England)

Apologia Pro Poemate Meo - Poem by Wilfred Owen

I, too, saw God through mud--
The mud that cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled.
War brought more glory to their eyes than blood,
And gave their laughs more glee than shakes a child.

Merry it was to laugh there--
Where death becomes absurd and life absurder.
For power was on us as we slashed bones bare
Not to feel sickness or remorse of murder.

I, too, have dropped off fear--
Behind the barrage, dead as my platoon,
And sailed my spirit surging, light and clear,
Past the entanglement where hopes lie strewn;

And witnessed exhultation--
Faces that used to curse me, scowl for scowl,
Shine and lift up with passion of oblation,
Seraphic for an hour, though they were foul.

I have made fellowships--
Untold of happy lovers in old song.
For love is not the binding of fair lips
With the soft silk of eyes that look and long.

By joy, whose ribbon slips,--
But wound with war's hard wire whose stakes are strong;
Bound with the bandage of the arm that drips;
Knit in the welding of the rifle-thong.

I have perceived much beauty
In the hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight;
Heard music in the silentness of duty;
Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddest spate.

Nevertheless, except you share
With them in hell the sorrowful dark of hell,
Whose world is but a trembling of a flare
And heaven but a highway for a shell,

You shall not hear their mirth:
You shall not come to think them well content
By any jest of mine. These men are worth
Your tears: You are not worth their merriment.


Comments about Apologia Pro Poemate Meo by Wilfred Owen

  • Fred Haight (2/1/2016 10:50:00 PM)


    Owen recognizes a true paradox. First, not only the folly, but the criminality of war:

    For power was on us as we slashed bones bare
    Not to feel sickness or remorse of murder.

    But also. the way men rose to the occasion. I love the lines:

    For love is not the binding of fair lips
    With the soft silk of eyes that look and long.

    By joy, whose ribbon slips, -
    But wound with war's hard wire whose stakes are strong;
    Bound with the bandage of the arm that drips;
    Knit in the welding of the rifle-thong.
    (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Dawn Fuzan (4/27/2014 3:44:00 PM)


    I like this one, its Good (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: murder, war, courage, passion, music, power, happy, child, peace, song, beauty, joy, fear, heaven, dark, death, light, god, world, wind



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002



[Report Error]