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

If you liked this, check out some of these other great classic poems.

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