Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

CreationEarth Nature Photos

Best Famous Wilfred Owen Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Wilfred Owen poems. This is a select list of the best famous Wilfred Owen poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Wilfred Owen poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Wilfred Owen poems.

Search for the best famous Wilfred Owen poems, articles about Wilfred Owen poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Wilfred Owen poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also:

Famous poems below this ad
Written by Wilfred Owen |



Happy are men who yet before they are killed
Can let their veins run cold.
Whom no compassion fleers Or makes their feet Sore on the alleys cobbled with their brothers.
The front line withers, But they are troops who fade, not flowers For poets' tearful fooling: Men, gaps for filling Losses who might have fought Longer; but no one bothers.
II And some cease feeling Even themselves or for themselves.
Dullness best solves The tease and doubt of shelling, And Chance's strange arithmetic Comes simpler than the reckoning of their shilling.
They keep no check on Armies' decimation.
III Happy are these who lose imagination: They have enough to carry with ammunition.
Their spirit drags no pack.
Their old wounds save with cold can not more ache.
Having seen all things red, Their eyes are rid Of the hurt of the colour of blood for ever.
And terror's first constriction over, Their hearts remain small drawn.
Their senses in some scorching cautery of battle Now long since ironed, Can laugh among the dying, unconcerned.
IV Happy the soldier home, with not a notion How somewhere, every dawn, some men attack, And many sighs are drained.
Happy the lad whose mind was never trained: His days are worth forgetting more than not.
He sings along the march Which we march taciturn, because of dusk, The long, forlorn, relentless trend From larger day to huger night.
V We wise, who with a thought besmirch Blood over all our soul, How should we see our task But through his blunt and lashless eyes? Alive, he is not vital overmuch; Dying, not mortal overmuch; Nor sad, nor proud, Nor curious at all.
He cannot tell Old men's placidity from his.
VI But cursed are dullards whom no cannon stuns, That they should be as stones.
Wretched are they, and mean With paucity that never was simplicity.
By choice they made themselves immune To pity and whatever mourns in man Before the last sea and the hapless stars; Whatever mourns when many leave these shores; Whatever shares The eternal reciprocity of tears.

Written by Wilfred Owen |

The Young Soldier

 It is not death
Without hereafter
To one in dearth
Of life and its laughter,

Nor the sweet murder
Dealt slow and even
Unto the martyr
Smiling at heaven:

It is the smile
Faint as a (waning) myth,
Faint, and exceeding small
On a boy's murdered mouth.

Written by Wilfred Owen |

Winter Song

 The browns, the olives, and the yellows died,
And were swept up to heaven; where they glowed
Each dawn and set of sun till Christmastide,
And when the land lay pale for them, pale-snowed,
Fell back, and down the snow-drifts flamed and flowed.
From off your face, into the winds of winter, The sun-brown and the summer-gold are blowing; But they shall gleam with spiritual glinter, When paler beauty on your brows falls snowing, And through those snows my looks shall be soft-going.

More great poems below...

Written by Wilfred Owen |

Apologia Pro Poemate Meo

 I, too, saw God through mud --
 The mud that cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled.
War brought more glory to their eyes than blood, And gave their laughs more glee than shakes a child.
Merry it was to laugh there -- Where death becomes absurd and life absurder.
For power was on us as we slashed bones bare Not to feel sickness or remorse of murder.
I, too, have dropped off fear -- Behind the barrage, dead as my platoon, And sailed my spirit surging, light and clear Past the entanglement where hopes lay strewn; And witnessed exultation -- Faces that used to curse me, scowl for scowl, Shine and lift up with passion of oblation, Seraphic for an hour; though they were foul.
I have made fellowships -- Untold of happy lovers in old song.
For love is not the binding of fair lips With the soft silk of eyes that look and long, By Joy, whose ribbon slips, -- But wound with war's hard wire whose stakes are strong; Bound with the bandage of the arm that drips; Knit in the welding of the rifle-thong.
I have perceived much beauty In the hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight; Heard music in the silentness of duty; Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddest spate.
Nevertheless, except you share With them in hell the sorrowful dark of hell, Whose world is but the trembling of a flare, And heaven but as the highway for a shell, You shall not hear their mirth: You shall not come to think them well content By any jest of mine.
These men are worth Your tears: You are not worth their merriment.
November 1917.

Written by Wilfred Owen |

The End

 After the blast of lightning from the east,
The flourish of loud clouds, the Chariot throne,
After the drums of time have rolled and ceased
And from the bronze west long retreat is blown,

Shall Life renew these bodies? Of a truth
All death will he annul, all tears assuage?
Or fill these void veins full again with youth
And wash with an immortal water age?

When I do ask white Age, he saith not so, --
"My head hangs weighed with snow.
" And when I hearken to the Earth she saith My fiery heart sinks aching.
It is death.
Mine ancient scars shall not be glorified Nor my titanic tears the seas be dried.

Written by Wilfred Owen |

Smile Smile Smile

 Head to limp head, the sunk-eyed wounded scanned
Yesterday's Mail; the casualties (typed small)
And (large) Vast Booty from our Latest Haul.
Also, they read of Cheap Homes, not yet planned; For, said the paper, "When this war is done The men's first instinct will be making homes.
Meanwhile their foremost need is aerodromes, It being certain war has just begun.
Peace would do wrong to our undying dead, -- The sons we offered might regret they died If we got nothing lasting in their stead.
We must be solidly indemnified.
Though all be worthy Victory which all bought, We rulers sitting in this ancient spot Would wrong our very selves if we forgot The greatest glory will be theirs who fought, Who kept this nation in integrity.
" Nation? -- The half-limbed readers did not chafe But smiled at one another curiously Like secret men who know their secret safe.
This is the thing they know and never speak, That England one by one had fled to France (Not many elsewhere now save under France).
Pictures of these broad smiles appear each week, And people in whose voice real feeling rings Say: How they smile! They're happy now, poor things.
23rd September 1918.

Written by Wilfred Owen |


 He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow.
Through the park Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn, Voices of play and pleasure after day, Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
About this time Town used to swing so gay When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim, -- In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again how slim Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands, All of them touch him like some queer disease.
There was an artist silly for his face, For it was younger than his youth, last year.
Now he is old; his back will never brace; He's lost his colour very far from here, Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry, And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race, And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg, After the matches carried shoulder-high.
It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg, He thought he'd better join.
He wonders why .
Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts.
That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg, Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts, He asked to join.
He didn't have to beg; Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years.
Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears Of Fear came yet.
He thought of jewelled hilts For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes; And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears; Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.
Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul.
Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes, And do what things the rules consider wise, And take whatever pity they may dole.
To-night he noticed how the women's eyes Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don't they come And put him into bed? Why don't they come?

Written by Wilfred Owen |

Spring Offensive

 Halted against the shade of a last hill,
They fed, and, lying easy, were at ease
And, finding comfortable chests and knees
Carelessly slept.
But many there stood still To face the stark, blank sky beyond the ridge, Knowing their feet had come to the end of the world.
Marvelling they stood, and watched the long grass swirled By the May breeze, murmurous with wasp and midge, For though the summer oozed into their veins Like the injected drug for their bones' pains, Sharp on their souls hung the imminent line of grass, Fearfully flashed the sky's mysterious glass.
Hour after hour they ponder the warm field -- And the far valley behind, where the buttercups Had blessed with gold their slow boots coming up, Where even the little brambles would not yield, But clutched and clung to them like sorrowing hands; They breathe like trees unstirred.
Till like a cold gust thrilled the little word At which each body and its soul begird And tighten them for battle.
No alarms Of bugles, no high flags, no clamorous haste -- Only a lift and flare of eyes that faced The sun, like a friend with whom their love is done.
O larger shone that smile against the sun, -- Mightier than his whose bounty these have spurned.
So, soon they topped the hill, and raced together Over an open stretch of herb and heather Exposed.
And instantly the whole sky burned With fury against them; and soft sudden cups Opened in thousands for their blood; and the green slopes Chasmed and steepened sheer to infinite space.
Of them who running on that last high place Leapt to swift unseen bullets, or went up On the hot blast and fury of hell's upsurge, Or plunged and fell away past this world's verge, Some say God caught them even before they fell.
But what say such as from existence' brink Ventured but drave too swift to sink.
The few who rushed in the body to enter hell, And there out-fiending all its fiends and flames With superhuman inhumanities, Long-famous glories, immemorial shames -- And crawling slowly back, have by degrees Regained cool peaceful air in wonder -- Why speak they not of comrades that went under?

Written by Wilfred Owen |

Wild With All Regrets

 (Another version of "A Terre".
) To Siegfried Sassoon My arms have mutinied against me -- brutes! My fingers fidget like ten idle brats, My back's been stiff for hours, damned hours.
Death never gives his squad a Stand-at-ease.
I can't read.
There: it's no use.
Take your book.
A short life and a merry one, my buck! We said we'd hate to grow dead old.
But now, Not to live old seems awful: not to renew My boyhood with my boys, and teach 'em hitting, Shooting and hunting, -- all the arts of hurting! -- Well, that's what I learnt.
That, and making money.
Your fifty years in store seem none too many; But I've five minutes.
God! For just two years To help myself to this good air of yours! One Spring! Is one too hard to spare? Too long? Spring air would find its own way to my lung, And grow me legs as quick as lilac-shoots.
Yes, there's the orderly.
He'll change the sheets When I'm lugged out, oh, couldn't I do that? Here in this coffin of a bed, I've thought I'd like to kneel and sweep his floors for ever, -- And ask no nights off when the bustle's over, For I'd enjoy the dirt; who's prejudiced Against a grimed hand when his own's quite dust, -- Less live than specks that in the sun-shafts turn? Dear dust, -- in rooms, on roads, on faces' tan! I'd love to be a sweep's boy, black as Town; Yes, or a muckman.
Must I be his load? A flea would do.
If one chap wasn't bloody, Or went stone-cold, I'd find another body.
Which I shan't manage now.
Unless it's yours.
I shall stay in you, friend, for some few hours.
You'll feel my heavy spirit chill your chest, And climb your throat on sobs, until it's chased On sighs, and wiped from off your lips by wind.
I think on your rich breathing, brother, I'll be weaned To do without what blood remained me from my wound.
5th December 1917.

Written by Wilfred Owen |

The Chances

 I mind as 'ow the night afore that show
Us five got talking, -- we was in the know,
"Over the top to-morrer; boys, we're for it,
First wave we are, first ruddy wave; that's tore it.
" "Ah well," says Jimmy, -- an' 'e's seen some scrappin' -- "There ain't more nor five things as can 'appen; Ye get knocked out; else wounded -- bad or cushy; Scuppered; or nowt except yer feeling mushy.
" One of us got the knock-out, blown to chops.
T'other was hurt, like, losin' both 'is props.
An' one, to use the word of 'ypocrites, 'Ad the misfortoon to be took by Fritz.
Now me, I wasn't scratched, praise God Almighty (Though next time please I'll thank 'im for a blighty), But poor young Jim, 'e's livin' an' 'e's not; 'E reckoned 'e'd five chances, an' 'e's 'ad; 'E's wounded, killed, and pris'ner, all the lot -- The ruddy lot all rolled in one.
Jim's mad.

Written by Wilfred Owen |


 Under his helmet, up against his pack,
After the many days of work and waking,
Sleep took him by the brow and laid him back.
And in the happy no-time of his sleeping, Death took him by the heart.
There was a quaking Of the aborted life within him leaping .
Then chest and sleepy arms once more fell slack.
And soon the slow, stray blood came creeping From the intrusive lead, like ants on track.
* * * Whether his deeper sleep lie shaded by the shaking Of great wings, and the thoughts that hung the stars, High pillowed on calm pillows of God's making Above these clouds, these rains, these sleets of lead, And these winds' scimitars; --Or whether yet his thin and sodden head Confuses more and more with the low mould, His hair being one with the grey grass And finished fields of autumns that are old .
Who knows? Who hopes? Who troubles? Let it pass! He sleeps.
He sleeps less tremulous, less cold Than we who must awake, and waking, say Alas!

Written by Wilfred Owen |

Dulce Et Decorum Est

 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep.
Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod.
All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!--An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-- My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

Written by Wilfred Owen |

The Sentry

 We'd found an old Boche dug-out, and he knew,
And gave us hell, for shell on frantic shell
Hammered on top, but never quite burst through.
Rain, guttering down in waterfalls of slime Kept slush waist high, that rising hour by hour, Choked up the steps too thick with clay to climb.
What murk of air remained stank old, and sour With fumes of whizz-bangs, and the smell of men Who'd lived there years, and left their curse in the den, If not their corpses.
There we herded from the blast Of whizz-bangs, but one found our door at last.
Buffeting eyes and breath, snuffing the candles.
And thud! flump! thud! down the steep steps came thumping And splashing in the flood, deluging muck -- The sentry's body; then his rifle, handles Of old Boche bombs, and mud in ruck on ruck.
We dredged him up, for killed, until he whined "O sir, my eyes -- I'm blind -- I'm blind, I'm blind!" Coaxing, I held a flame against his lids And said if he could see the least blurred light He was not blind; in time he'd get all right.
"I can't," he sobbed.
Eyeballs, huge-bulged like squids Watch my dreams still; but I forgot him there In posting next for duty, and sending a scout To beg a stretcher somewhere, and floundering about To other posts under the shrieking air.
Those other wretches, how they bled and spewed, And one who would have drowned himself for good, -- I try not to remember these things now.
Let dread hark back for one word only: how Half-listening to that sentry's moans and jumps, And the wild chattering of his broken teeth, Renewed most horribly whenever crumps Pummelled the roof and slogged the air beneath -- Through the dense din, I say, we heard him shout "I see your lights!" But ours had long died out.

Written by Wilfred Owen |

On Seeing A Piece Of Our Artillery Brought Into Action

 Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm,
Great gun towering towards Heaven, about to curse;
Sway steep against them, and for years rehearse
Huge imprecations like a blasting charm!
Reach at that Arrogance which needs thy harm,
And beat it down before its sins grow worse;
Spend our resentment, cannon,--yea, disburse
Our gold in shapes of flame, our breaths in storm.
Yet, for men's sakes whom thy vast malison Must wither innocent of enmity, Be not withdrawn, dark arm, thy spoilure done, Safe to the bosom of our prosperity.
But when thy spell be cast complete and whole, May God curse thee, and cut thee from our soul!

Written by Wilfred Owen |


 His fingers wake, and flutter up the bed.
His eyes come open with a pull of will, Helped by the yellow may-flowers by his head.
A blind-cord drawls across the window-sill .
How smooth the floor of the ward is! what a rug! And who's that talking, somewhere out of sight? Why are they laughing? What's inside that jug? "Nurse! Doctor!" "Yes; all right, all right.
" But sudden dusk bewilders all the air -- There seems no time to want a drink of water.
Nurse looks so far away.
And everywhere Music and roses burnt through crimson slaughter.
Cold; cold; he's cold; and yet so hot: And there's no light to see the voices by -- No time to dream, and ask -- he knows not what.