Wilfred Owen

(1893-1918 / Shropshire / England)

Futility


1 Move him into the sun--
2 Gently its touch awoke him once,
3 At home, whispering of fields unsown.
4 Always it awoke him, even in France,
5 Until this morning and this snow.
6 If anything might rouse him now
7 The kind old sun will know.

8 Think how it wakes the seeds--
9 Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
10 Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides
11 Full-nerved,--still warm,--too hard to stir?
12 Was it for this the clay grew tall?
13 --O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
14 To break earth's sleep at all?

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Rookie Erica Byrne (4/22/2013 2:40:00 PM)

    This is an iconic poem, full of sadness of what the world wars are really like. True masterpieces and forever a favorite of mine. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Ian Fraser (7/26/2011 7:45:00 PM)

    One of the most extraordinary things about Owen is that however great the emotion he still managed to write in wonderfully controlled classical verse. This is another sonnet. Towards the end Owen invented his own unique way of transforming these classical forms. Here it is mainly in the use of half-rhymes star/ stir, seeds/ sides etc. It is almost as if the old forms are dying and fading away before our eyes. No other writer is like Owen. I cannot think for the life of me why so many people only give him 6 or 7. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 29 Points Robert Howard (8/14/2006 1:16:00 PM)

    This great song of the pathos and waste of war is set for tenor voice in Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jamie Gfgdfg (11/9/2005 9:02:00 AM)

    A very sad and poignant poem. It sums up the absoloute absurdity of war very well. One of my favourites. (Report) Reply

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