Friday, March 28, 2008

POETRY FRIDAY: Anthem for a Doomed Youth

The Iraq War is now in its sixth year. More than four thousand Americans have lost their lives…and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. There are those who may think war is “romantic”—but not people like Wilfrid Owen (1893-1918). Owen served as a volunteer soldier for the British military during World War I. He was killed by machine gun fire a few days before the end of that war.

Anthem for Doomed Youth
by Wilfrid Owen

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.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

At Wild Rose Reader, I have three original tanka poems I wrote for Tricia’s Monday Poetry Stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Cuentesitos this week.


tanita✿davis said...

Just after Easter Sunday I read a report detailing the number injured and dead from this...thing which for which I can't even find an appropriate name. "For those who die as cattle" is probably the most apt and awful phrase ever.

Elaine Magliaro said...


It's so sad. I lost a good friend in the Vitenam War. I thought we had learned a lesson from that war. I guess some of our leaders forgot the human toll that war brings...all the lives that are affected by the loss of loved ones who are killed in battle in places far from home.

MmeT said...

It doesn't matter what war it is-the outcome is always the same. It breaks my heart that Owen's poems are as relevant today as they were then.

Mary Lee said...

It seems so much of what the current administration has done with its tenure has doomed our youth -- war, global warming, massive foreign debt, a shaky economy...

Elaine Magliaro said...

mme t,

I agree. This poem--and some of the other poems he wrote--are just as relevant today. That's sad.

Mary Lee,

You won't get any disagreement from me with what you've said.

Anonymous said...

What a haunting poem...