Wilfred Owen

(1893-1918 / Shropshire / England)

Exposure

Poem by Wilfred Owen

I

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.

II

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.


Comments about Exposure by Wilfred Owen

  • craig (1/20/2020 4:28:00 AM)

    this is my kind of poem(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Stephen LoomesStephen Loomes (11/11/2018 8:09:00 PM)

    Another masterpiece, but nothing is happening, war, a cancer which consumes our best and finest and makes pig masters and mistresses fat with blood.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Susan Tranter (11/11/2018 3:59:00 AM)

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

    Stephen Loomes(11/11/2018 8:10:00 PM)

    Perhaps it is more powerful if the ghost of this genius echoes through your mind as you read, silently.

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Ivor Thawt (10/30/2018 12:08:00 PM)

    Like the War itself, this drags on somewhat...(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Holly (10/7/2018 12:44:00 PM)

    What date was this published?(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Subhas Chandra ChakraSubhas Chandra Chakra (7/27/2018 12:51:00 PM)

    An excellent piece of war poetry, after going through an analogy of Soviet War Poetry.
    Loved reading it. Felt frustrated jumping each time over a number before a line.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Glen KappyGlen Kappy (7/27/2018 7:25:00 AM)

    whew! setting aside the numbers before each line as in a high school textbook (which annoy) —this is a striking and vivid description of war as it was carried on in ww 1. and anyone who hastens to send another into this kind of should read this. and if they still hasten, we might reasonably guess they are incapable of feeling, incapable of compassion. so many excellent phrases here it would make too long a list. -gk(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (7/27/2018 5:25:00 AM)

    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. war and its terrible loss and futility. tony(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Adrian FlettAdrian Flett (7/27/2018 4:27:00 AM)

    The power of poetry, even in war, in the hands of a master.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (7/27/2018 2:56:00 AM)

    Nice presentation with nice theme presented by Wilfred Owen.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (7/27/2018 12:59:00 AM)

    Such a great write by Wilfred Owen....10++++(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (7/27/2018 12:54:00 AM)

    nicely expounded the profound activeness of life(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Ruta MohapatraRuta Mohapatra (7/27/2018 12:47:00 AM)

    'Pause over half-known faces'......such is the tragedy of war!(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • do you no the way? (6/8/2018 3:36:00 AM)

    fortnite is the best(Report)Reply

    TSM_Myth(7/4/2018 8:29:00 AM)

    I agree my brother poggers

    theulmightypun(6/26/2018 11:51:00 AM)

    i agree wid u brotha - half caste

    5 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • asdfghjkl (5/15/2018 9:17:00 PM)

    this is so wild I'm reading it for a class(Report)Reply

    Im in class with FH07577(7/4/2018 8:32:00 AM)

    This is good yah

    FH07577(7/4/2018 8:30:00 AM)

    Same brudda

    2 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Uguru-okorie JosephUguru-okorie Joseph (3/13/2018 6:53:00 PM)

    Nice one, Wilfred. They are lovely written.(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Israj Ali (2/18/2018 6:27:00 AM)

    Beautiful tips- - I like these important ones- - -10(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • kashmir (2/6/2018 9:45:00 AM)

    what is the poem Exposure about?(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • your nana (12/13/2017 4:44:00 AM)

    its really not that good tbh(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    13 person did not like.
  • Jamie Drew (9/9/2016 4:32:00 AM)

    This is most epic, really superb, I love it.(Report)Reply

    Jamie Drew(9/9/2016 4:37:00 AM)

    ok

    29 person liked.
    34 person did not like.
Read all 29 comments »

Exposure Score Card

User Rating:
3,0 / 5 (80 votes)22



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Read poems about / on: snow, war, silence, memory, believe, spring, house, rain, child, smile, red, god, home, night, wind, dark, sun, dream, children



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002



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