Anthem for Doomed Youth

Supports going up after battle to relieve the front trenches

Wilfred Owen
1893-1918

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.


Poem from abandoned blog A Selection of Poetry—the blog retrieved January 2014 from Internet Archive – originally posted April 8, 2006.


“Orison” is from Latin for prayer

Supports going up after battle to relieve the front trenches – Taken some time in 1918, UK National Media Museum on Flickr’s The Commons
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literature, photography, poetry, vintage images, war
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