Journal For Poetry Challenge#7 29,01,2012

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) is widely recognised as one of the greatest voices of the First World War. His self-appointed task was to speak for the men in his care, to show the ‘Pity of War’.

Owen’s enduring and influential poetry is evidence of his bleak realism, his energy and indignation, his compassion and his great technical skill.The Wilfred Owen Association was formed in 1989 to commemorate Wilfred Owen’s life and work. You can learn more at


STRANGE MEETING                                                                                  

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

Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands, as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall,-
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.

With a thousand pains that vision’s face was grained;
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
“Strange friend,” I said, “here is no cause to mourn.”
“None,” said that 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,
Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
But mocks the steady running of the hour,
And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something had been left,
Which must die now I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we spoiled,
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress.
None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
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.
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.
Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now . . .”


The Soldier unsure whether he is dead or sleeping finds himself deep under ground surrounded by many dead bodies. One is alive and they discuss the dire straits of war. The uselessness, the senseless waste of life. What they themselves have lost the life denied them. All for what, to fight an enemy, is this enemy so different to them . The soldier then notices that this man is the enemy. He is the same foe who he was just an hour ago fighting. Here they find each other in the same  hell.

There is no difference between them in other circumstances they could of been friends. War , blood, death and all for what!. The destruction of villages,towns, cities , the decimation of nearly whole nations, family, sweethearts, husbands wives, friend… For what …….. another war and then another …………and then ??

Poetry Challenge #7 is to create a journal of links and your reactions to poems by established (living or dead poets.) Details are here.  Example response is here. Mr. Linky for Challenge #7 is directly below:

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Raven of Leyla
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 16:52:07

    Profound and touching look at this man, Wilfred Owen.
    I like the graphic also, beautiful!


    • willowdot21
      Jan 29, 2012 @ 19:24:19

      I decided this year I would learn about the war poets and the more I read the more my heart breaks and my blood boils. These poor poor men, and damn fools of leaders, generals who sent Jo Everyman out to his death! Thank you for reading and thinking about this man, he was a private man.


  2. Thomas Davis
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 19:34:35

    What a wonderful post, willowdot21. Wilfred Owens was a great English poet who wrote a number of stunning poems after the First World War. This is one of them. I thought you did an excellent job in the commentary on the poem. The trenches of World War I were deadly and truly in the realm of hell. So many men died that all of Europe lost a generation of men, as the newspapers of the time said. I appreciated reading this poem again today and see what you’re up to.


    • willowdot21
      Jan 29, 2012 @ 20:04:48

      Thank you so much, I have set to, to find out about the war years, the poets who lived , ate drank and slept through the war, lived died and killed though the war. So far I have been saddened, wept a lot for the loss and the pain caused by those two wars and my blood boils when I look at the world and see man has not learnt a thing……….. not a thing.


  3. Thomas Davis
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 19:34:57

    I liked the graphics too, by the way.


  4. zumpoems
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 21:22:12

    Love how you took this on. What an artist, huh?

    Have almost no time today (used up little time I had posting vacation photos on facebook — so will plan to spend time nextg week catching up on some of your prior posts — no internet connection last few weeks (had auto-scheduled my posts at and no access to blogs at work so only able to browse blogs on weekends which are fairly solidly booked.


    • willowdot21
      Jan 29, 2012 @ 21:31:38

      Thanks for your support,no need to explain your on line visits I am pleased you have a full and I hope happy life. I am amazed at what I am learning from these writers some of whom I know. My father having read to me as a child but many more I have never heard of. Their biopics are amazing to. The whole subject is sad so sad and at times I wonder why I took it on , then I read on and I know. These people are trying to help us, educate us but sadly too many ears and eyes are shut. So far I am stuck in the first world war! Again thank you . keep well and happy! Great to hear from you. 😀 XX


  5. Vampire Weather
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 03:12:18

    “The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
    Now men will go content with what we spoiled,
    Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.”

    Wow. This is truly powerful and full of such passionate emotions. Thank you for sharing! Great content Willow!


  6. granbee
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 17:33:20

    Willowdot, you have absolutely met the challenge of Wilbur Owen with these lines:
    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.” Masterful, truly awesome.


    • willowdot21
      Jan 30, 2012 @ 19:00:38

      The words and the feelings expressed by these poets are more than we can understand , why well thankfully we have not had to live through what they have. Thank you for reading!


  7. Jen C Hay
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 17:50:42

    Hi, I’ve nominated you for The ABC award. If you want more info, click here (If technology stops hating on me and actually works this time!) >>×7-link-award/

    Also, Wilfred Owen has to be one of my favourite poets, (Alongside Siegfries Sassoon)! I don’t think there is a poem of his that I’ve read and disliked! I love Strange Meeting but I have to say you really cannot get better than his Anthem for Doomed Youth! Or Dulce Et Decorum Est! Or Disabled! Oh dear, far too many… And I can’t even pick a line to quote, they’re all so powerful in their own right!!


    • willowdot21
      Jan 30, 2012 @ 18:48:18

      The power of these poets are beyond dispute and yes I agree that there are so many that are brilliant poems that it is impossible to pick one above another.


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