Memorial Day Reflection

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.

5 thoughts on “Memorial Day Reflection”

  1. Thanks for this poem and the link to the author. I was familiar with neither and like what I learned of both.

      1. It’s been a very long time, but I read Owen and other war poets back in college – was amazed (and still am) at both the beauty and the quantity of the poetry that came out of The Great War. Even if the horrors of modern warfare disabused the literary class of the notion of ‘Glory’ in battle, they somehow managed to find beauty in the tragedy. I’m still moved when I read this stuff.

        Thanks for posting.

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