Sonnets of World War I ~ The Words of Wilfred Own

Royal Irish Rifles ration party Somme July 1916 Collection from Imperial War Museum




As today marks the 100 year anniversary of the start of World War I, I thought it was appropriate to share a poem by Wilfred Owen who was an English soldier and poet.

Just take a moment to think back to what those men went through and how without them, the world may not be as it is today.


Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred 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.

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 good-byes.
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.


Wilfred Owen 18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918