Wilfred Owen

(1893-1918 / Shropshire / England)

The Next War - Poem by Wilfred Owen

War's a joke for me and you,
Wile we know such dreams are true.
- Siegfried Sassoon

Out there, we've walked quite friendly up to Death,-
Sat down and eaten with him, cool and bland,-
Pardoned his spilling mess-tins in our hand.
We've sniffed the green thick odour of his breath,-
Our eyes wept, but our courage didn't writhe.
He's spat at us with bullets and he's coughed
Shrapnel. We chorussed when he sang aloft,
We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.

Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!
We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
No soldier's paid to kick against His powers.
We laughed, -knowing that better men would come,
And greater wars: when each proud fighter brags
He wars on Death, for lives; not men, for flags.

Comments about The Next War by Wilfred Owen

  • (8/7/2018 7:18:00 AM)

    Good 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍! (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (8/7/2018 7:18:00 AM)

    Good 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍! (Report) Reply

  • (6/20/2018 6:22:00 AM)

    Gr8 M8 U got gud M8 (Report) Reply

  • (6/7/2018 1:17:00 PM)

    this is so good and it also rhymes as well thanks (Report) Reply

  • (5/30/2018 8:17:00 PM)

    good poem amazing poem (Report) Reply

  • (5/30/2018 8:15:00 PM)

    you are like the top piece of bread in a loaf. Everyone touches you but no one wants you (Report) Reply

  • (5/30/2018 8:15:00 PM)

    addddddddddddddddddddddddkodk, opdopdopp (Report) Reply

  • (5/30/2018 8:14:00 PM)

    fddsqdwdfwerfawefaerfaergwe (Report) Reply

  • (5/30/2018 8:14:00 PM)

    plz add me on roblox my name is fidget spinner 2000 (Report) Reply

  • (5/29/2018 9:51:00 PM)

    o wadduprgtyuhththrththththt (Report) Reply

    (5/30/2018 8:18:00 PM)

    yess all the way mate

  • (5/24/2018 7:20:00 PM)

    great poem thanks very cool (Report) Reply

  • (5/8/2018 10:03:00 AM)

    Hi add me ps4 ParadoxHit (Report) Reply

  • (4/24/2018 2:35:00 PM)

    that was a magnificent poem very well though out (Report) Reply

  • (4/24/2018 2:34:00 PM)

    war is hatred in many peoples opinion war is to show power but its not its to pick on the weak and for the money (Report) Reply

  • (3/25/2018 9:22:00 AM)

    War,war never changes. (Report) Reply

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (9/1/2017 10:25:00 AM)

    Death was never enemy of ours!
    We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
    No soldier's paid to kick against His powers.
    Nicely written poem. Thanks poet.
    (Report) Reply

  • (6/12/2017 8:57:00 AM)

    Dear Wilfred Owen, my name is Joel drown and i read your poem and its magnificent how you could capture the thing in common between love and war.The point that hit me the most was how you could paint the image of numbing feeling that love and war can make. thank you for your time and your service. (Report) Reply

  • (1/21/2015 10:42:00 PM)

    heart of matter War... (Report) Reply

  • (6/23/2006 4:55:00 AM)

    Death is personified but it fails to stir up emotions of fear and grief. The soldier on the front becomes insensitive to the fear of death. Although it can come in many forms, the soldier comes to accept the gamble.

    In the first verse, death is the explosion that is responsible for “spilling the mess-tins in our hands”. It is the gas attack and the soldiers have “sniffed the green thick odour of his breath. The bullets are “coughed” and the shrapnel is “spat”. But at the end of this verse death becomes the traditional harvester with his scythe killing indiscriminately.

    Death cannot be an enemy to the soldier. It has become a constant companion because the soldier has killed too: “we leagued with him”. How can the soldier hold it against Death if war itself is part of the conspiracy of killing? “No soldier’s paid to kick against His powers.”

    Wars will come and wars will go and Death will always be there on the side of the allies and on the side of the enemy – fighting “for lives; not men, for flags”. It is not concerned with allegiances, ideologies, principles or patriotism. So, whatever will cause it, the next war will be another triumph for Death.
    (Report) Reply

Read all 20 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: soldier, courage, death, war, green, power, dream

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Famous Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  7. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
[Report Error]