Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen Biography

Wilfred Owen was born near Oswestry, Shropshire, where his father worked on the railway. He was educated at the Birkenhead Institute, Liverpool and Shrewsbury Technical College. He worked as a pupil-teacher in a poor country parish before a shortage of money forced him to drop his hopes of studying at the University of London and take up a teaching post in Bordeaux (1913). He was tutoring in the Pyrenees when war was declared and enlisted as shortly afterwards.

In 1917 he suffered severe concussion and 'trench-fever' whilst fighting on the Somme and spent a period recuperating at Craiglockart War Hospital, near Edinburgh. It was he that he met Siegfried Sassoon who read his poems, suggested how they might be improved, and offered him much encouragement.

He was posted back to France in 1918 where he won the MC before being killed on the Sombre Canal a week before the Armistice was signed.

His poetry owes its beauty to a deep ingrained sense of compassion coupled with grim realism. Owen is also acknowledged as a technically accomplished poet and master of metrical variety.

Poems such as 'Dulce Decorum Est' and 'Anthem for doomed Youth' have done much to influence our attitudes towards war.

The Best Poem Of Wilfred Owen

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned out backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.-
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen Comments

Roxane Czechovic 06 December 2012

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352 518 Reply
Elizabeth Lobo 22 September 2011

iam doing it for my anthology and finding it hard to analyse it..... dulce et decorum est was more interesting......need help

299 504 Reply
Sarah Munafo 06 January 2006

Unfortunately, this is not a very representative collection of his works. He wrote some excellent, more light-hearted poetry, as well as the very emotive war poems, and to round off your knowledge of this wonderful poet, I would advise going to the bookshop and purchasing an anthology of his work. A couple of decades ago, there was an excellent book entitled 'Up the Line to Death', which concentrated primarily on the war poems of men such as Owen, Sassoon, Graves, Brooke - but also included a fair share of their other work. See if you can find something similar, and enjoy 'Shadwell Stair', for example.

305 455 Reply
Keiran Maye 12 November 2012

Excellent poem. Yes i'm 13 granted but yeah, i still like it.

325 408 Reply
Lewis Griffin 04 July 2005

Dulce et Decorum Est os a very good poem. I may only be 14 but this poem speaks about the grimness of war unlike some poets who described it to be excellent.

242 286 Reply
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Sylvia Frances Chan 17 August 2021

CONTINUED: Poems such as 'Dulce Decorum Est' and 'Anthem for doomed Youth' have done much to influence our attitudes towards war.TODAY he is chosen as THE POET OF THE DAY! Tuesday 17 Aug 2021. Congratulations to his beloved family nearest to him Most deserving!

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 17 August 2021

His poetry owes its beauty to a deep ingrained sense of compassion coupled with grim realism. Owen is also acknowledged as a technically accomplished poet and master of metrical variety.

0 0 Reply
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