Friday, 24 August 2007
August poet: Wilfred Owen
Red lips are not so red
As the stained stones kissed by the English dead.
Kindness of wooed and wooer
Seems shame to their love pure.
O Love, your eyes lose lure
When I behold eyes blinded in my stead!
Your slender attitude
Trembles not exquisite like limbs knife-skewed,
Rolling and rolling there
Where God seems not to care;
Till the fierce Love they bear
Cramps them in death's extreme decrepitude.
Your voice sings not so soft, --
Though even as wind murmuring through raftered loft, --
Your dear voice is not dear,
Gentle, and evening clear,
As theirs whom none now hear
Now earth has stopped their piteous mouths that coughed.
Heart, you were never hot,
Nor large, nor full like hearts made great with shot;
And though your hand be pale,
Paler are all which trail
Your cross through flame and hail:
Weep, you may weep, for you may touch them not.
When I started this blog two months ago my intended focus was writing, books, publication, and random subjects that impact my life. I rarely discuss religion or politics in my daily transactions, and I have no intention of discussing these on this blog. Sometimes, however, there is no way of separating politics or religion from life, or from literature. And lately, especially after I watch the news every night and am sickened anew, I'm haunted by Wilfred Owen's poems on the horrors of war.
The poems speak for themselves, with piercing irony. Most were published posthumously - he was killed in action in 1918, a week before the end of the First World War. He was 25.