Anthem For Doomed Youth
By Wilfred Owen
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 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. Shown above is a copy of Owen's first draft of this poem along with it's original amendments by both Owen and his good friend and fellow poet 'Siegfried Sassoon'. Written in clearer form below: Anthem for Dead Youth passing What minute bells for those who die so fast? solemn the Only the monstrous anger of our guns blind insolence iron Let the majestic insults of their iron mouths requiem Be as the priest words of their burials Learn organs for the old requiem Of choristers and holy music, none; And the hiss lonely the long drawn wail of high, far sailing shells to light What candles may we hold for those lost? souls? Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes shine the tapers the holy tapers candles Shall / many candles shine; and love will light them holy flames: to And woman's wide-spread ed arms shall be their wreaths And pallor girls' cheeks shall be their palls. mortal Their flowers the tenderness of all men's minds comrades rough men's each slow And every Dusk a drawing-down of blinds
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