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Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

Anthem for Doomed Youth


              1What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
              2    Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
              3    Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
              4Can patter out their hasty orisons.
              5No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,
              6Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,--
              7The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
              8And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

              9What candles may be held to speed them all?
            10    Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
            11Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
            12    The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
            13Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
            14And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.


Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Wilfred Owen, Poems By Wilfred Owen with an Introduction by Siegfried Sassoon (London: Chatto and Windus, 1921): 11. PR 6029 W4P6 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1917
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2001/12/6*1:2004/11/3

Composition date: 1917
Form: sonnet
Rhyme: ababcdcd effegg


Other poems by Wilfred Owen