Wilfred Owen quotes

  • 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

    #Girl #Flower #Drawing

  • Ambition may be defined as the willingness to receive any number of hits on the nose.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Ambition #Numbers #May

  • All I ask is to be held above the barren wastes of want.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Waste #Want #Barren

  • All a poet can do today is warn.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Poetry #Warning #Today

  • Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels I would go up and wash them from sweet wells, Even with truths that lie too deep for taint. I would have poured my spirit without stint But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Sweet #Lying #War

  • Above all I am not concerned with Poetry. My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Pity #Poetry Is

  • Those who have no hope pass their old age shrouded with an inward gloom.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Age #Inward #No Hope

  • No-man's land under snow is like the face of the moon: chaotic, crater ridden, uninhabitable, awful, the abode of madness.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Moon #Men

  • Happy are men who yet before they are killed Can let their veins run cold.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Running #Fear #War

  • I tried to peg out soldierly,--no use! One dies of war like any old disease.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Disease #Use

  • I, too, saw God through mud
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Saws #Mud

  • I have perceived much beauty In the hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight; Heard music in the silentness of duty; Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddest spate.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Beauty #War #Storm

  • Soldiers may grow a soul when turned to fronds, But here the thing's best left at home with friends.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Home #Soldier #Soul

  • What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Gun #Bells

  • The old happiness is unreturning. Boy's griefs are not so grievous as youth's yearning. Boys have no sadness sadder than our hope.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Hope #Grief #Sadness

  • All the poet can do today is warn. That is why true Poets must be truthful.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Truth #Today #Poet

  • Do you know what would hold me together on a battlefield? The sense that I was perpetuating the language in which Keats and the rest of them wrote!
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Together #Holding On #Language

  • I don't ask myself, is the life congenial to me? But, am I fitted for, am I called to, the Ministry?
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Ministry

  • My soul's a little grief, grappling your chest, To climb your throat on sobs; easily chased On other sighs and wiped by fresher winds.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Grief #Wind #Soul

  • The centuries will burn rich loads With which we groaned, Whose warmth shall lull their dreaming lids, While songs are crooned: But they will not dream of us poor lads, Left in the ground.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Dream #Song #Time

  • And Death fell with me, like a deepening moan. And He, picking a manner of worm, which half had hid Its bruises in the earth, but crawled no further, Showed me its feet, the feet of many men, And the fresh-severed head of it, my head.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Death #Men #Feet

  • Heart, you were never hot Nor large, nor full like hearts made great with shot
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Heart #Hot

  • Red lips are not so red as the stained stones kissed by the English dead.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Red #Lips #Stones

  • And some cease feeling Even themselves or for themselves. Dullness best solves The tease and doubt of shelling
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Feelings #Doubt

  • I thought of all that worked dark pits Of war, and died Digging the rock where Death reputes Peace lies indeed.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Death #War #Lying

  • Dead men may envy living mites in cheese, Or good germs even. Microbes have their joys, And subdivide, and never come to death.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Death #Men #Envy

  • Numbers of the old people cannot read. Those who can seldom do
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Numbers #People #Old People

  • Winter Song The browns, the olives, and the yellows died, And were swept up to heaven; where they glowed Each dawn and set of sun till Christmastide, And when the land lay pale for them, pale-snowed, Fell back, and down the snow-drifts flamed and flowed. From off your face, into the winds of winter, The sun-brown and the summer-gold are blowing; But they shall gleam with spiritual glinter, When paler beauty on your brows falls snowing, And through those snows my looks shall be soft-going.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Beauty #Summer #Spiritual

  • Futility Move him into the sun - Gently its touch awoke him once, At home, whispering of fields unsown. Always it woke him, even in France, Until this morning and this snow. If anything might rouse him now The kind old sun will know. Think how it wakes the seeds, - Woke, once, the clays of a cold star. Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides, Full-nerved -still warm -too hard to stir? Was it for this the clay grew tall? -O what made fatuous sunbeams toil To break earth's sleep at all?
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Morning #Stars #Moving

  • I am not concerned with Poetry. My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity. Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense conciliatory. They may be to the next. All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the true Poets must be truthful.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #This Generation #Generations

  • My subject is war, and the pity of war.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Pity #Subjects

  • Strange friend,' I said,'here is no cause to mourn.' 'None,'said the other,'save the undone years, The hopelessness.Whatever hope is yours Was my life also; I went hunting wild After the wildest beauty in the world.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Hunting #Years #World

  • The old Lie:Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Lying #War #Decorum

  • It seemed that out of battle I escaped Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped Through granites which titanic wars had groined.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Tunnels #Profound

  • Was it for this the clay grew tall? O what made fatuous sunbeams toil To break earth's sleep at all?
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Sleep #Earth #Clay

  • So secretly, like wrongs hushed-up, they went.
    -- Wilfred Owen

  • Whatever mourns when many leave these shores: Whatever shares The eternal reciprocity of tears.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Tears #Share #Reciprocity

  • I, too, saw God through mud - The mud that cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled. War brought more glory to their eyes than blood, And gave their laughs more glee than shakes a child.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Children #War #Eye

  • I find purer philosophy in a Poem than in a Conclusion of Geometry, a chemical analysis, or a physical law
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Philosophy #Law #Analysis

  • I was a boy when I first realized that the fullest life liveable was a Poet's
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Boys #Firsts #Poet

  • If I have to be a soldier I must be a good one, anything else is unthinkable
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Historical #Soldier #Unthinkable

  • And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall, By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Smile #Sullen #Hell

  • Was it for this the clay grew tall?
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Fighting #Clay #Grew

  • The marvel is that we did not all die of cold. As a matter of fact, only one of my party actually froze to death before he could be got back, but I am not able to tell how many have ended up in hospital. We were marooned in a frozen desert. There was not a sign of life on the horizon and a thousand signs of death.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Party #Horizon

  • Walking abroad, one is the admiration of all little boys, and meets an approving glance from every eye of elderly.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Eye #Boys

  • The universal pervasion of ugliness, hideous landscapes, vile noises, foul language...everything. Unnatural, broken, blasted; the distortion of the dead, whose unburiable bodies sit outside the dug outs all day, all night, the most execrable sights on earth. In poetry we call them the most glorious.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Night #Sight #Broken

  • These men are worth your tears. You are not worth their merriment.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Men #Tears

  • Escape? There is one unwatched way: your eyes. O Beauty! Keep me good that secret gate.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Eye #Secret #Way

  • Courage was mine, and I had mystery, Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery: To miss the march of this retreating world Into vain citadels that are not walled.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Missing #World #Mastery

  • If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-- My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Dream #Children #Cancer

  • Children are not meant to be studied, but enjoyed. Only by studying to be pleased do we understand them.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Children #Study #Meant To Be

  • The Young Soldier It is not death Without hereafter To one in dearth Of life and its laughter, Nor the sweet murder Dealt slow and even Unto the martyr Smiling at heaven: It is the smile Faint as a (waning) myth, Faint, and exceeding small On a boy's murdered mouth.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Life #Sweet #Laughter

  • This book is not about heroes. English poetry is not yet fit to speak of them. Nor is it about deeds, or lands, nor anything about glory, honour, might, majesty, dominion, or power, except War. Above all I am not concerned with Poetry. My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Book #Hero

  • The war effects me less than it ought. I can do no service to anybody by agitating for news or making dole over the slaughter
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #News #Slaughter

  • When I begin to eliminate from the list all those professions which are impossible from a financial point of view and then those which I feel disinclined to-it leaves nothing
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Views #Lists #Impossible

  • Never fear: Thank Home, and Poetry, and the Force behind both.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Home #Force #Never Fear

  • I am only conscious of any satisfaction in Scientific Reading or thinking when it rounds off into a poetical generality and vagueness.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Reading #Thinking #Satisfaction

  • Flying is the only active profession I would ever continue with enthusiasm after the War.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #War #Flying #Enthusiasm

  • Be bullied, be outraged, by killed, but do not kill.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Bullied #Outraged

  • All theological lore is becoming distasteful to me.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Becoming #Theological #Distasteful

  • After all my years of playing soldiers, and then of reading History, I have almost a mania to be in the East, to see fighting, and to serve.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Reading #Fighting #Years

  • A Poem does not grow by jerks. As trees in Spring produce a new ring of tissue, so does every poet put forth a fresh outlay of stuff at the same season.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Spring #Tree #Doe

  • As bronze may be much beautified by lying in the dark damp soil, so men who fade in dust of warfare fade fairer, and sorrow blooms their soul.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Lying #Dark #Men

  • I dreamed kind Jesus fouled the big-gun gears; and caused a permanent stoppage in all bolts; and buckled with a smile Mausers and Colts; and rusted every bayonet with His tears.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Jesus #Gun #Tears

  • The English say, Yours Truly, and mean it. The Italians say, I kiss your feet, and mean, I kick your head.
    -- Wilfred Owen

    #Mean #Kissing #Feet