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Wilfred Owen: 1914

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Wildred Owen: Selections on war

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Wilfred Owen

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As Bronze May Be Much Beautified

As bronze may be much beautified
By lying in the dark damp soil,
So men who fade in dust of warfare fade
Fairer, and sorrow blooms their soul.

Like pearls which noble women wear
And, tarnishing, awhile confide
Unto the old salt sea to feed,
Many return more lustrous than they were.

But what of them buried profound,
Buried where we can no more find.
Who ( )
Lie dark for ever under abysmal war?

1914
War broke: and now the Winter of the world
With perishing great darkness closes in.
The foul tornado, centred at Berlin,
Is over all the width of Europe whirled,
Rending the sails of progress. Rent or furled
Are all Art’s ensigns. Verse wails. Now begin
Famines of thought and feeling. Love’s wine’s thin.
The grain of human Autumn rots, down-hurled.

For after Spring had bloomed in early Greece,
And Summer blazed her glory out with Rome,
An Autumn softly fell, a harvest home,
A slow grand age, and rich with all increase.
But now, for us, wild Winter, and the need
Of sowings for new Spring, and blood for seed.

[I Saw His Round Mouth’s Crimson]

[I saw his round mouth’s crimson deepen as it fell],
Like a Sun, in his last deep hour;
Watched the magnificent recession of farewell,
Clouding, half gleam, half glower,
And a last splendour burn the heavens of his cheek.
And in his eyes
The cold stars lighting, very old and bleak,
In different skies.

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