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 ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia

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.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola