Asleep Poem by Wilfred Owen


Rating: 3.2

Under his helmet, up against his pack,
After so many days of work and waking,
Sleep took him by the brow and laid him back.

There, in the happy no-time of his sleeping,
Death took him by the heart. There heaved a quaking
Of the aborted life within him leaping,
Then chest and sleepy arms once more fell slack.

And soon the slow, stray blood came creeping
From the intruding lead, like ants on track.

Whether his deeper sleep lie shaded by the shaking
Of great wings, and the thoughts that hung the stars,
High-pillowed on calm pillows of God's making,
Above these clouds, these rains, these sleets of lead,
And these winds' scimitars,
-Or whether yet his thin and sodden head
Confuses more and more with the low mould,
His hair being one with the grey grass
Of finished fields, and wire-scrags rusty-old,
Who knows? Who hopes? Who troubles? Let it pass!
He sleeps. He sleeps less tremulous, less cold,
Than we who wake, and waking say Alas!

Ramesh T A 09 September 2011

Life of hard working men ends so finally which is well said by Wilfred Owen in a simple way! He works ever and sleeps finally! But others never sleep and one day wake to see to say alas for his loss! This is the world life we should know! Wonderful poem!

17 39 Reply
Michael Harmon 09 September 2009

Wilfred Owen, along with Siegfried Sassoon and Rupert Brooke, is one of the great poetic chroniclers of WW1. His work (e.g. with slant rhymes, etc) was innovative, and worthy of study today. His death, and Keats', at a tragically early age, I consider to be among the greatest losses English poetry has ever suffered.

19 35 Reply
Pranab K Chakraborty 09 September 2011

He sleeps. He sleeps less tremulous, less cold, Than we who wake, and waking say Alas! ..... MUCH FOR OUR HELPLESSNESS. Great work.

19 31 Reply
Manohar Bhatia 09 September 2013

This is an excellent poem on sleep & work. Man slogs throughout his life to maintain his family, parents and others dfependent on him.At the end of the day, he becomes dog tired and sleeps under his helmet, just as a shouldier.Sometimes, the man or the military man may be dead, exhausting his time on this earth. Manohar Bhatia.

23 26 Reply
Kevin Straw 09 September 2009

I am not sure how the blood coming from the soldier's wound is like 'ants on track'. Could the last section have been tightened up a little? It seems a bit foggy at times.

10 38 Reply
R. H. Peat 29 July 2022

Wilfred too the long sleep himself and never came home. He came home for a while but was sent back into battle and died there near the end of the WWI.

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Sir Bobby Charlton 06 March 2020

Well I'm falling 'asleep' reading this

0 2 Reply
Tim Jamie Dim 06 March 2020

Well I'm falling 'asleep'

0 1 Reply
ben tennyson 26 June 2019

me this is good(Owen's on fire 'sing it')

1 3 Reply
matthew lee 12 February 2019

I take wickets for fun

2 5 Reply
Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen

Shropshire / England
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