Exposure Poem by Wilfred Owen


Rating: 3.0


1 Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knife us ...
2 Wearied we keep awake because the night is silent ...
3 Low drooping flares confuse our memory of the salient ...
4 Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous,
5 But nothing happens.

6 Watching, we hear the mad gusts tugging on the wire.
7 Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles.
8 Northward incessantly, the flickering gunnery rumbles,
9 Far off, like a dull rumour of some other war.
10 What are we doing here?

11 The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow ...
12 We only know war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag stormy.
13 Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army
14 Attacks once more in ranks on shivering ranks of gray,
15 But nothing happens.

16 Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence.
17 Less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow,
18 With sidelong flowing flakes that flock, pause and renew,
19 We watch them wandering up and down the wind's nonchalance,
20 But nothing happens.


21 Pale flakes with lingering stealth come feeling for our faces--
22 We cringe in holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare, snow-dazed,
23 Deep into grassier ditches. So we drowse, sun-dozed,
24 Littered with blossoms trickling where the blackbird fusses.
25 Is it that we are dying?

26 Slowly our ghosts drag home: glimpsing the sunk fires glozed
27 With crusted dark-red jewels; crickets jingle there;
28 For hours the innocent mice rejoice: the house is theirs;
29 Shutters and doors all closed: on us the doors are closed--
30 We turn back to our dying.

31 Since we believe not otherwise can kind fires burn;
32 Now ever suns smile true on child, or field, or fruit.
33 For God's invincible spring our love is made afraid;
34 Therefore, not loath, we lie out here; therefore were born,
35 For love of God seems dying.

36 To-night, His frost will fasten on this mud and us,
37 Shrivelling many hands and puckering foreheads crisp.
38 The burying-party, picks and shovels in their shaking grasp,
39 Pause over half-known faces. All their eyes are ice,
40 But nothing happens.

Dawn Fuzan 27 April 2014

I like this one, its Good

44 59 Reply
Billy Bill 28 August 2014

very nice pome i like

47 54 Reply
Grammer nazi 06 February 2018

Very nice 'POEM', I like it.

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Jamie Drew 09 September 2016

This is most epic, really superb, I love it.

29 34 Reply
Jamie Drew 09 September 2016


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Petyr Dowdeswell 06 May 2021

Beautifully written. It truly confers the war and what it was like.

0 0 Reply
craig 20 January 2020

this is my kind of poem

0 0 Reply
Susan Tranter 11 November 2018

These poems would benefit from a human male voice on the audio. Beautiful haunting poem to read.

2 1 Reply
Ivor Thawt 30 October 2018

Like the War itself, this drags on somewhat...

3 6 Reply
Holly 07 October 2018

What date was this published?

1 3 Reply
Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen

Shropshire / England
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