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 now 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 good-byes.
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.
Wilfred Owen | Classic Poems

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