Thursday 10 November 2011


Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918) was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War

The war poet Wilfred Owen was killed in northern France in November 1918 - in the final days of WWI. His last letter to his mother was written at the end of October in the cellar of a forester's house in the village of Ors.


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.

Wilfred Owen
8 October 1917 - March, 1918


  1. Thanks, Tony.

    Don't know if you have ever come across this site; with many of the poets there are links to images of the manuscripts and working drafts when they are in public institutions:

    First World War Poetry Digital Archive

    Four of the surviving drafts for 'Dulce et Decorum' are here:

  2. Thanks Michael. I have used the Oxford University site before for other things but I haven't seen these drafts,of "Dulce et Decorum,"before.

    I've read some of Siegfried Sassoon's poems and Rupert Brook's and Edward Thomas's, or rather Thomas's rural poems.
    Oh by the way, Robert graves was born and brought up just up the road from me in Wimbledon Village. he went To Kings College Wimbledon but was thrown out for disruptive behaviour. His sister went To Wimbledon Girls High School at the end of Worple Road. Apparently his attitude to women derives from a bad experience he had there. His mother took him to visit his sister at Wimbledon High School. Graves had a mass of curly hair and his mother dressed him like a girl. Some of the girls at the school laughed at him. He was damaged thereafter!!!!!!!!