Friday, January 21, 2005

Friday Poetry Blogging

Anthem for Doomed Youth
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 goodbyes.
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.

September-October 1917
Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

(This piece seemed appropriate given yesterday's inauguration of Mr. War President, with its prospect of unremitting violence in Iraq, and, more metaphorically, the character of the workweek.)