Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen Poems

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.
...

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
...

He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
...

4.

War broke: and now the Winter of the world
With perishing great darkness closes in.
The foul tornado, centred at Berlin,
Is over all the width of Europe whirled,
...

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.
...

I

1 Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knife us ...
2 Wearied we keep awake because the night is silent ...
...

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

The beautiful, the fair, the elegant,
Is that which pleases us, says Kant,
Without a thought of interest or advantage.
...

Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight?
Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows,
Drooping tongues from jays that slob their relish,
Baring teeth that leer like skulls' teeth wicked?
...

1 Move him into the sun--
2 Gently its touch awoke him once,
3 At home, whispering of fields unsown.
4 Always it awoke him, even in France,
...

Seeing we never found gay fairyland
(Though still we crouched by bluebells moon by moon)
And missed the tide of Lethe; yet are soon
For that new bridge that leaves old Styx half-spanned;
...

All sounds have been as music to my listening:
Pacific lamentations of slow bells,
The crunch of boots on blue snow rosy-glistening,
Shuffle of autumn leaves; and all farewells:
...

1 Let the boy try along this bayonet-blade
2 How cold steel is, and keen with hunger of blood;
3 Blue with all malice, like a madman's flash;
4 And thinly drawn with famishing for flesh.
...

[I saw his round mouth's crimson deepen as it fell],
Like a Sun, in his last deep hour;
Watched the magnificent recession of farewell,
Clouding, half gleam, half glower,
...

As bronze may be much beautified
By lying in the dark damp soil,
So men who fade in dust of warfare fade
Fairer, and sorrow blooms their soul.
...

It seemed that out of the battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which Titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
...

'Oh! Jesus Christ! I'm hit,' he said; and died.
Whether he vainly cursed or prayed indeed,
The Bullets chirped-In vain, vain, vain!
Machine-guns chuckled,-Tut-tut! Tut-tut!
...

Cramped in that funnelled hole, they watched the dawn
Open a jagged rim around; a yawn
Of death's jaws, which had all but swallowed them
Stuck in the bottom of his throat of phlegm.
...

Hush, thrush! Hush, missen-thrush, I listen...
I heard the flush of footsteps through the loose leaves,
And a low whistle by the water's brim.
...

If ever I dreamed of my dead name
High in the heart of London, unsurpassed
By Time for ever, and the Fugitive, Fame,
There seeking a long sanctuary at last,
...

Wilfred Owen Biography

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) was an English poet and soldier who is widely regarded as one of the most important literary figures of World War I. Owen was born in Oswestry, England, and he attended school at Shrewsbury Technical School before working as a lay assistant to the vicar of Dunsden. He enlisted in the British Army in 1915 and was sent to the Western Front, where he saw active service in the trenches. Throughout his time in the army, Owen continued to write poetry, and his work was heavily influenced by his experiences of war and the suffering he witnessed. His poetry is known for its stark realism, its emotional intensity, and its condemnation of the horrors of war. Some of Owen's most famous poems include "Anthem for Doomed Youth," "Dulce et Decorum Est," and "Strange Meeting." His work was published posthumously after he was killed in action in France in November 1918, just one week before the Armistice that ended the war. Today, Owen's poetry is widely studied and admired for its powerful and moving depiction of the realities of war, and he is remembered as a significant voice in the literature of the First World War.

Early Life

He went to Birkenhead Institute, Liverpool, and Shrewsbury Technical College for his education. He worked as a pupil-teacher in a poor country parish before being forced to abandon his plans to study at the University of London. Before, he took up a teaching position in Bordeaux due to a lack of funds.

How Old Was Wilfred Owen When He Joined the Army?

Wilfred Owen was 22 years old when he joined the British Army. He was born on March 18, 1893 and enlisted in the army in October 1915.
While fighting on the Somme in 1917, he suffered a serious concussion and 'trench-fever,' and took time recovering at Craiglockart War Hospital in Edinburgh. Then, he met Siegfried Sassoon who read his poetry, suggested ways to enhance them, and encouraged him greatly. 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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354 519 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

300 504 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.

306 455 Reply
Keiran Maye 12 November 2012

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

326 408 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.

243 286 Reply
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2 1 Reply
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!

1 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.

1 0 Reply
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