The Best Defense

Soldier poets of the Great War (VII): The enduring power of Wilfred Owen’s words

Of all the World War I poets, Wilfred Owen stands up best, I think (and yes, I do know I am far from alone). His words feel much more modern to me, almost contemporary. "And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds." Great word control.

Here are two other passages from him:

The burying-party, picks and shovels in their shaking grasp,

Pause over half-known faces. All their eyes are ice . . . .

And then there is this:

Happy are those who lose imagination:

They have enough to carry with ammunition.

And of course if you haven't read his great poem about a gas attack, you should do that right now.



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