Treasure Island

Wilfred Owen

(1893-1918 / Shropshire / England)

Beauty


The beautiful, the fair, the elegant,
Is that which pleases us, says Kant,
Without a thought of interest or advantage.

I used to watch men when they spoke of beauty
And measure their enthusiasm. One
An old man, seeing a ( ) setting sun,
Praised it ( ) a certain sense of duty
To the calm evening and his time of life.
I know another man that never says a Beauty
But of a horse; ( )

Men seldom speak of beauty, beauty as such,
Not even lovers think about it much.
Women of course consider it for hours
In mirrors; ( )

A shrapnel ball -
Just where the wet skin glistened when he swam -
Like a fully-opened sea-anemone.
We both said 'What a beauty! What a beauty, lad'
I knew that in that flower he saw a hope
Of living on, and seeing again the roses of his home.
Beauty is that which pleases and delights,
Not bringing personal advantage - Kant.
But later on I heard
A canker worked into that crimson flower
And that he sank with it
And laid it with the anemones off Dover.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (4/12/2014 10:00:00 AM)

    Beauty is that the which pleases and delight the wordings of immanuel Kant is quoted by the poet in this little poem which is the fact about the beauty. What is actually coming to mind and thinking is beauty is normally described by individual according to his vision of thought and the think most interested in him and therefore varies in different situations according to conveniences.The poem is very nice to read. (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (1/29/2014 7:34:00 PM)

    .....the last stanza is astonishing, but it is a metaphor comparing the injury to a beautiful flower... (Report) Reply

  • Ruby Root (8/23/2006 8:11:00 PM)

    I find this poem interesting how men think of beauty. I think in our society today it is not like that. People don't see the beauty around them. They are disillusion by material things fast cars, bars, fthe fast lane. Fake women. All that lipstick, high heels. What happened to being natural a little blush a walk in the woods. I would love to see what Wifred Own would say about our society today. Unkind, selfish, and cruel. (Report) Reply

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