NPM 2010 – Anthem For Doomed Youth

admin    April 11, 2010
Wilfred Owen was solider for Britain in World War I who died in battle a week before the Armistice was signed.  But that’s not why he’s remembered.  Owen is remembered for poetry he wrote while serving in the trenches.  His poetry is devastating in its imagery and depiction of war and its true nature.  “Anthem for Doomed Youth” haunts me to this day.  I hear church bells and think of this poem.
“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.