2016年3月19日 星期六

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen

The British Library

Wilfred Owen was born ‪#‎onthisday‬ in 1893. He wrote ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ in the trenches of the First World War sometime between 1917 and 1918. He lost his life in action on 4 November 1918. Tragically, the news of his death reached his parents on 11 November, Armistice Day. bit.ly/21GVgSl

"Dulce et Decorum est" is a poem written by Wilfred Owen during World War I, and published posthumously in 1920. The Latin title is taken from the Roman poet Horace and means "it is sweet and honorable...", followed by pro patria mori, which means "to die for one's country".

Dulce et Decorum est - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem"/ Wilfred_Owen‎

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918) was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his friend Siegfried Sassoon and stood in stark contrast to both the public perception of war at the time, and to the confidently patriotic verse written by earlier war poets such as Rupert Brooke. Among his best-known works – most of which were published posthumously – are "Dulce et Decorum Est", "Insensibility", "Anthem for Doomed Youth", "Futility" and "Strange Meeting".


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Apologia Pro Poemate Meo" is a poem by Wilfred Owen. It deals with the atrocities of World War I. The title means "in defence of my poetry" and is often viewed as a rebuttal to a remark in Robert Graves' letter "for God's sake cheer up and write more optimistically - the war's not ended yet but a poet should have a spirit above wars."[1]
Alternatively, the poem is seen as a possible response to "Apologia Pro Vita Sua".
The poem describes some of the horrors of war and how this leads to a lack of emotion and a desensitisation to death. However the key message of the poem is revealed in the final two stanzas criticizing "you" at home (contemporary readers) for using war propaganda and images as a form of entertainment "These men are worth/ Your tears. You are not worth their merriment".

The full poem is as follows:
I, too, saw God through mud -    
The mud that cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled.    
War brought more glory to their eyes than blood,    
And gave their laughs more glee than shakes a child.

Merry it was to laugh there -    
Where death becomes absurd and life absurder.    
For power was on us as we slashed bones bare    
Not to feel sickness or remorse of murder.

I, too, have dropped off fear -    
Behind the barrage, dead as my platoon,    
And sailed my spirit surging, light and clear    
Past the entanglement where hopes lay strewn;

And witnessed exultation -    
Faces that used to curse me, scowl for scowl,    
Shine and lift up with passion of oblation,    
Seraphic for an hour; though they were foul.

I have made fellowships -    
Untold of happy lovers in old song.    
For love is not the binding of fair lips    
With the soft silk of eyes that look and long,

By Joy, whose ribbon slips, -    
But wound with war's hard wire whose stakes are strong;    
Bound with the bandage of the arm that drips;
Knit in the welding of the rifle-thong.

I have perceived much beauty    
In the hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight;   
Heard music in the silentness of duty;    
Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddest spate.

Nevertheless, except you share    
With them in hell the sorrowful dark of hell,    
Whose world is but the trembling of a flare,    
And heaven but as the highway for a shell,

You shall not hear their mirth:   
You shall not come to think them well content    
By any jest of mine. These men are worth    
Your tears: You are not worth their merriment.


  1. Jump up^ Wilfred Owen, Collected Letters, edited by Harold Owen and John Bell - London, 1967.

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 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.



     Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knife us . . .
     Wearied we keep awake because the night is silent . . .
     Low drooping flares confuse our memory of the salient . . .
     Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous,
             But nothing happens.

     Watching, we hear the mad gusts tugging on the wire.
     Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles.
     Northward incessantly, the flickering gunnery rumbles,
     Far off, like a dull rumour of some other war.
             What are we doing here?

     The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow . . .
     We only know war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag stormy.
     Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army
     Attacks once more in ranks on shivering ranks of gray,
             But nothing happens.

     Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence.
     Less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow,
     With sidelong flowing flakes that flock, pause and renew,
     We watch them wandering up and down the wind's nonchalance,
             But nothing happens.


     Pale flakes with lingering stealth come feeling for our faces--
     We cringe in holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare, snow-dazed,
     Deep into grassier ditches.  So we drowse, sun-dozed,
     Littered with blossoms trickling where the blackbird fusses.
             Is it that we are dying?

     Slowly our ghosts drag home:  glimpsing the sunk fires glozed
     With crusted dark-red jewels; crickets jingle there;
     For hours the innocent mice rejoice:  the house is theirs;
     Shutters and doors all closed:  on us the doors are closed--
             We turn back to our dying.

     Since we believe not otherwise can kind fires burn;
     Nor ever suns smile true on child, or field, or fruit.
     For God's invincible spring our love is made afraid;
     Therefore, not loath, we lie out here; therefore were born,
             For love of God seems dying.

     To-night, His frost will fasten on this mud and us,
     Shrivelling many hands and puckering foreheads crisp.
     The burying-party, picks and shovels in their shaking grasp,
     Pause over half-known faces.  All their eyes are ice,
             But nothing happens.

Wilfred Owen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918) was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War.