Wilfred Owen

It’s cold down in the trenches
where the men line up like cattle
“Keep your head down!” My brother,
when the machine guns start to rattle!

There was once a splendid meadow
wild flowers grew upon the way
a school house in the distance
where you could hear the children play
Now the fields are wrought with barb wire
and the land is slick with blood
There’s no comfort in the hell below,
But it’s a little safer than above
The mustard gas comes crawling
the ragged breath of a homeless man
the burning and gargled screaming
“Get your masks on!” If you can
The scream of the mortars falling
like the banshee of Celtic lore
while that harbinger of death
has come knocking at your door
Wilfred Owen in the Great War
with the rats as thick as cats
One week before it all was over
he became a poet of the past
Another hole there, in the cemetery
in Ors of Northern France
another grave, another soldier,
another poet without romance
There’s no glory for the dying,
there’s no hurrah to victory,
there’s just the casualty of seeing
what no man should ever see

He saw war for what it was,
There was no good reason for the call,
not for king and not for country,
there is no point to it, at all.

© Christopher Raine