Wilfred Owen


'Shall life renew
These bodies?
Of a truth
All death will he annul'


Wilfred Owen is buried in the Communal Cemetery, Ors, France, Europe.

Gravestone of Wilfred Owen

On the 4th November 1918 Owen was killed on the bank of the Oise-Sambre Canal near Ors - seven days before armistice day. Shortly before his death he had won the Military Cross for capturing scores of prisoners.

He was a Lieutenant with the 2nd Manchester Regiment.

Owen had previously suffered from 'shell shock' and whilst recovering  in Craiglockhart  hospital  in Edinburgh he met, and became friends with, Siegfried Sassoon who was also a patient. Sassoon encouraged Owen to write poetry. Many of Owen's famous poems were written during this period of convalescence.

Only five of his poems were published during his lifetime. However, he is now regarded as one of the finest of the first world war poets.

Owen employed a number of different poetic meters and also made particular use of assonance.

His poetry provided a very realistic account of the horrors of trench warfare.

In his preface to Poems (1920) he famously wrote: 'Above all, this book is not concerned with Poetry. The subject of it is War, and the Pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.'

See also alliteration and pararhyme.


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.

From Anthem for Doomed Youth
(complete poem)


Read more of Owen's poetry

The Wilfred Owen Association






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