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Posts Tagged ‘Wilfred Owen’

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The guns of war shot, from the sky,
The brave young songbirds flying by
Who looked down from their Homeric height
And sang their songs in war’s dark night.
A Seeger and a Sorely fell,
An Owen, – Rosenberg as well,
As did a Grenfell, Thomas, West –
And most were young, not far from nest.
Raw Rupert Brooke, too, went away,
As did the Flander’s John McCrae.

They named their killer, named him well,
That War was instrument of hell.
Those poets who, as soldiers served,
Looked up from mud and blood, observed
That War, to men in trenches (graves)
Had rhyme, not reason, for its slaves.
They saw, then paid, the great expense
And knew flung armies made no sense –
Just like poor Owen died a week
Before armistice showed its cheek.
And while his parents heard of this,
The bells were tolling peace and bliss.

The guns of war shot, from the sky,
The brave young songbirds flying by.
And though their brief flight ended there,
Their sweet sad songs still fill the air.

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The war poets named within my poem, with cause of death and a link to one of their poems:

Rupert Brooke died during the war of blood poisoning.
The Soldier – https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/the-soldier-by-rupert-brooke/

John McCrae died of pneumonia.
In Flanders Field -https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/in-flanders-fields-by-john-d-mccrae/

Julian Grenfell was killed by shrapnel.
Into Battle – https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/into-battle-by-julian-grenfell/

Wilfred Owen was killed on Nov.4.  His parents were told the news as bells on Nov.11 were ringing to celebrate peace.
Miners – https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/miners-by-wilfred-owen/

Isaac Rosenberg died in combat on the night of April 1, 1918.
Dead Man’s Dump – https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2016/10/29/dead-mans-dump-by-isaac-rosenberg/

Alan Seeger was killed by machine gun fire, July 4, 1916.
I Have A Rendezvous With Death – https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/i-have-a-rendezvous-with-death-by-alan-seeger/

Charles Sorley was killed by a German sniper on Oct.13, 1915.
All The Hills And Vales Along – https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/all-the-hills-and-vales-along-by-charles-sorley/

Arthur West was shot dead by a sniper’s bullet on April 3, 1917
God! How I Hate You – https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/god-how-i-hate-you-young-men-by-arthur-west/

Edward Thomas, “shot clean through the chest”, died in action in 1917.
This Is No Case Of Petty Right Or Wrong – https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/this-is-no-case-of-petty-right-or-wrong-by-edward-thomas/

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photo by Michael and Christa Richert at
http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/mfjy8q2/gun+carriage

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2016.

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Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our 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
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. *

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*It is sweet and honorable to die for one’s country.

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                   Miners

There was a whispering in my hearth,
   A sigh of the coal,
Grown wistful of a former earth
   It might recall. 

I listened for a tale of leaves
   And smothered ferns,
Frond-forests, and the low sly lives
   Before the fauns. 

My fire might show steam-phantoms simmer
   From Time’s old cauldron,
Before the birds made nests in summer,
   Or men had children. 

But the coals were murmuring of their mine,
   And moans down there
Of boys that slept wry sleep, and men
   Writhing for air. 

And I saw white bones in the cinder-shard,
   Bones without number.
Many the muscled bodies charred,
   And few remember. 

I thought of all that worked dark pits
   Of war, and died
Digging the rock where Death reputes
   Peace lies indeed. 

Comforted years will sit soft-chaired,
   In rooms of amber;
The years will stretch their hands, well-cheered
   By our life’s ember; 

The centuries will burn rich loads
   With which we groaned,
Whose warmth shall lull their dreaming lids,
    While songs are crooned:
But they will not dream of us poor lads,
    Left in the ground.

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             Anthem For Doomed Youth

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.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
   Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, –
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
   And bugles calling for them from sad shires. 

What candles may be held to speed them all?
   Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
   The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

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