Friday, 4 November 2011

A Great War Poet.

Today is the 4th of November.  It is also the day that Wilfred Owen was killed shepherding his company across the Sambre canal in First World War France.  He died just a week from the Armistice.  Next week will be a special day.  It will be the 11.11.11.

I once stood outside Wilfred Owen's old house: Plas Wilmot in Oswestry.  Here's one of his poems:


What passing bells for those 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 good-byes.
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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