Saturday, December 6, 2014

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Wilfred Owen—Dulce Et Decorum Est

Beano Niblock with a few thoughts on the war poet Wilfred Owen. It featured in Long Kesh Inside Out. Beano Niblock is a former loyalist prisoner and currently writes poetry, plays and general commentary pieces.


Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Owen was born on the 18th March 1893 in Oswestry Shropshire.  He lived there for a short period of time before the sale of the family home forced them to move into lodgings in Birkenhead where his father worked on the railway.  After spending a short time there they moved back to the West country to Shrewsbury.  It was here that Owen attended school and by his late teens he was a pupil/teacher in Wyle Cap before graduating to the University of London.  At a young age Owen developed a great love of the Bible and he carried this devotion throughout his short life.
In the Trenches

In October of 1915 Owen enlisted in the Artistic Rifles Training Corps and by the following year-in June-he received the commission of Second Lieutenant into the Manchester Regiment.  Within a short period of being on the front line Owen was blown out of the trench in a mortar attack.  He lay for a long period outside the trench before rescue and was suffering badly with shell shock.  He was transferred from France to Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh and it was here he first met his friend and mentor Siegfried Sassoon.  When he was deemed to be fit for duties once more Owen was transferred to the Northern Command Depot at Ripon in Yorkshire.  He spent the summer of 1918 here and at nearby Scarborough before once more moving back to the War in France and the front line, in August.  During his time here Owen took part in a great deal of action and on one occasion led an attack that overpowered a German machine gun post-earning him the Military Cross.  However the award wasn’t processed until 1919.

Wilfred Owen was killed in action on the 4th November 1918 exactly one week before the Armistice.  His death took place while trying to cross the Sambre Oise Canal.  He was promoted to Lieutenant the following day and his mother received news of his death on the 11th November when the church bells in Shrewsbury were ringing out in celebration of the ending of the War.

Wifred Owen was buried in Ors Community Cemetery.

Owen was the author of many fine war poems.  Where poets like Rupert Brooke captured the patriotism of War, Owen was seen as an anti-war poet and the poem below—perhaps his best known relates the futility of War and the notion that it is a glorious thing to serve and die for one’s country.

The Poetry of Owen

Dulce et Decorum Est
By Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
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.

26 comments :

marty said...

A pity such talent has to surface in the worst of circumstances,I hope Beano doesnt take offence when I compare that powerful work with that of Bobby Sands two young men with talent beyond imagination cut down far to young, both men however will live forever through their incredible words,thats more than can be said for the assholes who sent them to their deaths ..

sean bres said...

Humanity never learned the lessons... It still goes on today with millions subject to horrendous war on a daily basis while the rest of us watch the world go round and round

Tain Bo said...

An interesting view especially the soft introduction between Owen and Sassoon, Siegfried Sassoon being a privileged young man, considered to be the most innocent of the war poets and even called the accidental hero which is probably more flowery than factual. His heroics are well documented and on one occasion he singlehandedly took a German trench and sat down took out a poetry book and read it.

That didn’t go over well with the brass as there he was in the middle of madness reading a book as if he was sitting at a tranquil park bench forgetting to call for reinforcements to hold the captured trench

Sassoon lost his brother Hamo Sassoon a 2nd Lieutenant on the Gallipoli front, this along with the death of his fellow officer David Thomas may have been what tipped the scale and reinforced what he already believed that Germany was to blame. His actions at times against German lines were considered almost reckless and even suicidal, earning him the not so pastoral nickname Mad Jack.

Though all was not as quiet on the Western Front as Sassoon became more resentful of the war more vocal about those who intentionally prolonged it, in other words Germany was not such the great evil, he was right that the greater enemy was the politician powers with their willingness to prolong the slaughter.

One incident he came across a young dead German in a trench one of his enemies that he had no ifs about bayoneting as many as he could, this one he wiped the mud of his face and propped him up in a more dignified pose returning the next morning to find boot marks across his face.

As Paul Fussell said: "now he unleashed a talent for irony and satire and contumely that had been sleeping all during his pastoral youth."

The problem for the Brass was what to do with him Court Martial a highly decorated officer who was extremely popular with his men would have caused an outrage at home amongst the well to do. It was the same well to do influential’s that prevented it.

Unlike the young Wilfred Owen who was a victim of shellshock, Sassoon was not, packing him off to the hospital was both a punishment and a good cover story for the spin doctors the man is suffering from shellshock and obviously not responsible for his anti-war ramblings.

He described Owen as ordinary the unlikely friends bonded over poetry Owen was intimidated by almost every aspect of Sassoon from his polite English accent all the way through to his undisputable courage in war.

Owen at the time was still under the influence of Keats and Shelly almost slavishly mimicking the romantics’ style. Sassoon encouraged Owen to write more realistically and direct, fashioning a less elaborate more colloquial style.
Anthem for Doomed Youth which is actually the title Sassoon suggested as a replacement for Anthem for Bad Youth.

The Old Lie, it is sweet and fitting to die for your country is probably the clearest influence Sassoon had on Owen, capturing the horrors of trench warfare. I like to think it was a dig at the government and perhaps in Sassoon’s mind politely exposing the Roman poet Horace for his great lie.
...contd

Tain Bo said...

...contd

Lt. Siegfried Sassoon.
3rd Batt: Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
July, 1917.

I am making this statement as an act of willful defiance of military authority because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them and that had this been done the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation.

I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops and I can no longer be a party to prolonging these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.

On behalf of those who are suffering now, I make this protest against the deception which is being practised upon them; also I believe it may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share and which they have not enough imagination to realise.


If Wilfred Owen had made such a public outburst it would be safe to assume he would have not fallen at the hands of the Germans but probably would have faced a court martial and been promptly executed.
At Westminster Abbey poets corner there is a memorial slate to 16 of the war poets and Sassoon is amongst them with a fitting inscription by Wilfred Owen in a sense a final meeting.

"My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity."

Peter said...

The more you read about the First World War the more respect you have for the men. Running at machine gun posts produces industrial scale slaughter, so every new battalion knew that most were going to die or get injured. Waitng to go over the top must have been agonising. William Noel Hodgson's "Before Action" was written as he waited for the beginning of the Somme offensive and the final stanza sums up how many would have felt.

I, that on my familiar hill
Saw with uncomprehending eyes
A hundred of thy sunsets spill
Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice,
Ere the sun swings his noonday sword
Must say good-bye to all of this; -
By all delights that I shall miss,
Help me to die, O Lord.

It is great that this blog runs with articles from Beano.

AM said...

Peter,

it is often asked of the Jews why so many of them went so passively to their deaths. I wonder if the same can be asked of the men who charged the machine gun nests. I often sense a despair in that type of activity, sometimes a fear of something greater than death - the opprobrium of society forever and a day.

I don't disrespect their ability to do what they did and lose their lives. At the same time I am hesitant to use the word respect in case it appears a recommendation of a herd mentality that causes a rush towards certain death - this is in any society. I think men who will so readily lose their own lives like that could as easily have perpetrated genocide.

I think empathy is a term I feel more comfortable with than respect. Had I been born in the Shankill around 1900 ... there for the accident of birth go I.

Beano is a good writer and his contributions are welcome here as your own comments.

Peter said...

AM
Thank you.
I understand your opinion of the British army and Empire is radically different from mine, I was always taught never to judge the past from today rather to see things from the perspective of how they happened in real time. The men of the Great War believed in their vast christian empire and understood the sacrifice required of them to maintain that empire. It is easy to sit here today and say it was all a waste, as Owen and Sassoon realised then. History is littered with examples of soldiers giving everything to be betrayed/forgotten by their political masters. Herd mentality? I see your point, like the Jews, sacrifice is easier when you believe in an afterlife. Genocide? There are varying degrees of it in most conflicts carried out by the blindly faithful, I don't see the men of the Great War as any more or less likely than other wars.
In both world wars socialist minded soldiers questioned their role and expected sacrifice in empire building but ultimately most did their duty and won at great cost.
Gibbon's novel Sunset Song (voted the greatest Scottish novel of all time) deals with these questions of class, duty, empire, cowardice etc and is beautifully poignant read. Respect them or empathise with them, they went through hell for God and Country.

AM said...

Peter,

I am not trying to think in terms of empire or the British Army as such, but more about the way people behave in certain situations.

I think there has to be a creative tension between the two positions you set up rather than an either/or. Things do need to be understood in terms of the time in which they happened. But the present allows us to think about how such things might have been done differently.

Everybody can justify their past behaviour as something of its time. Slavery, for example. I think the only way that can be challenged is to think about it from the position of today, with all the judgemental deficiencies that can bring.

The men of World War 1 on all sides went thru great hell for their god and their own country, yet both can't be right. They also put others through great hell.

I must try to read Sunset Song, coming as it does with such a recommendation.

Yes, you are right, the men of World War 1 were no more likely to commit genocide than the men of other wars who did similar things. I think it is more a concern about that attitude that allows people to collectively give up their lives so easily or readily - I can see a situation in which that would lead to genocide. There is absolutely nothing specifically British or unionist about it. All armies could produce that mindset.

larry hughes said...

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

it is a sweet and fitting thing to die for ones country....

yep, and the American dream is right up there with that one too!

Peter said...

AM
You then open up a whole raft of questions about why humans go to war, wars of defence and wars of conquest etc Were the men of the Great War incredibly stoic or pliant cannon fodder? I tend towards the former.
Do read Sunset Song (if you can stand the Scottish vernacular that it is written in) it is a classic.

AM said...

Peter,

what makes people incredibly stoic is what interests me. I am not sure I understand the difference between stoicism and docility. The line from that war that most impressed me was Lions led by Donkeys.


Just purchased Sunset Song on Kindle for 85 pence. Can't complain about that now.

Peter said...

I hope you enjoy it. It ain't an easy read, the 1st chapter has sod all to do with the story and the Scottish lingo can be hard to follow, but stick with it.

AM said...

I shall Peter. Thanks for the recommendation.

AM said...

from Beano

It is interesting to read some of the comments and have to say there is a great depth of knowledge here. One hundred years after WW1 the debates arise on a regular basis—in this part of the world usually around early July or mid November-and again, usually for the wrong reasons. Owen of course was only one of many exceptional poets from that era and unfortunately will only be remembered by most of us for this one brilliant poem. He was an idealistic young man and also very patriotic but quite quickly became disillusioned when faced with the horrific realities. During the course of WW1 there was something like 2000 British and Irish poets actually with published works!! A text book I remember from school—O levels in 1969/70 was of First World War poetry and was divided into 3 distinct sections. The first told of the euphoria of joining up and marching off to war. The middle section told of the realisation kicking in once they were embroiled in the horrors and the last section relayed the futility and waste that finally prevailed. In many ways Owens poetry and in particular Dulce, is seen as a misrepresentation of war. Yes, it tells of the lies behind the reasons, but it wasn’t written by Owen from his experiences. He wrote it as part therapy when he was recovering from a bad bout of shell shock which occurred during his first term on the Western Front. Indeed many of the great poets from then used poetry and storytelling as a medium to overcome boredom..humour and anti German feeling being common ingredients. The notion that most of the great poetry from WW1 was anti-war wasn’t a notion of that particular time but rather came about much later—during the 1960’s in fact. There was a literary elite at that time who brought First World war poets and poetry back into vogue and decide that because some of the poems messages coincided with their, by now radical, own views it suited them to make them all into anti war poems.
the Lewis Gibbons book-Sunset Song was the first in a trilogy set in rural Scotland—the North East-during the early 20th century. The story is told from the point of view of a young woman who had to take on the role of mother to a young family after the suicide of the maternal head of the house. One of her brothers fights at the western front and relates all the horrors of those events. Some of the relevant themes touched on here are fear-futility-cowardice and acquiescence. It isn’t an easy read but is held in huge regard within Scottish literature and in many circles is seen as an allegorical tale—everything that Chris—the girl in question-is was Scotland at that particular time.

ozzy said...

You don't have to think hard as to know what they would have thought of this.
It seems that in the Tower of London as they were taking down their display of Poppies there was a big Knees-up at £240 per head.for ARMS Dealers and the British MoD!!!!!!
You really couldn't make these things up!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2852826/Tower-London-hosted-240-head-dinner-arms-dealers-moving-poppy-memorial-installation-taken-apart.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-crass-insensitivity-of-towers-luxury-dinner-for-arms-dealers-days-after-poppy-display-9888507.html

Peter said...

Beano
Another fan of Sunset Song it seems! What absolutely fascinates me about this period is the enormous social change. Life hadn't changed for the plebs much from 1700 to 1900 then in 20 short years everything changed. The change from crofting to farming, industrialisation, cars, electricity, phones, radio, socialism, nationalism, the Great War and spanish flu, great modernisation in a short period. The book captures this really well.
Anthony mentioned the old trope 'lions led by donkeys' in a comment. This was finely represented in Blackadder Goes Forth. Historians are now trying to counter this assumption. Do you have any thoughts?

AM said...

From Beano

My thoughts Peter?..........well firstly like most people commenting here I find it difficult to comprehend the volume of life lost during WW1. On all sides. It’s strange because 100 years later we are influenced one way or another of how we have been taught, interpreted or read history. Sometimes we adapt a version that sits well with ourselves. For different reasons. I told yesterday of how revisionism in the 1960’s partly led to the belief that the Great War poets were largely anti War..when it may not necessarily have been the case. There is an argument that there is a similar story in relation to the leaders of the Armed Forces during World War One. The phrase-Lions Led By Donkeys-was in use before WW1, and may in fact have been first coined as far back as the 1850’s when the British failed to take Sevastapol during the Crimean War. And it was in common parlance with other Armies—French-German and Russian –all prior to 1914. During the war there was over 1000 British Generals. Of these 146 were wounded or taken prisoner—78 were killed in action or result of active service and 2 received the Victoria Cross for valour. Many had fought—successfully-previous campaigns such as The Boer War and were far from cowardly or incompetent. From this point of view to suggest that they sat behind the front lines smoking cigars and swilling port while they sent men to their death may be a falsehood. And the argument-always-from an Establishment point of view-is..Didn’t they win the War?

Organized Rage said...

"The men of the Great War believed in their vast christian empire and understood the sacrifice required of them to maintain that empire."

They might have gone to war for a host of reasons but I doubt the above entered the head of the average tommy, not least because a good few of them were not even christians and a good few more were oppressed at home by the British Empire.(india, Ireland, etc)

The fact the arseholes who organised the WW1 celebration waited until the last survivor was dead, tells us all about their motivation.

Undoubtedly the best of the WW1 war poets bring a tear to the eye, but do they tell us anything about the sheer wickedness which lay behind that wretched war, I'm not so sure.

Why did people continue to fight when they new it was wrong, probably for the same reasons why British solders in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to do so. They did it for their mates and in all probability they also took this option because it was far easier than mastering the courage it would need for them to stand up and say enough, i'm off this is wrong. (Siegfried Sassoon tried that but still went back to front)

It is not easy to be in a minority of one and in war the herd mentality plays a massive role and none more so than in WW1.Courage is about far more than charging machine gun nests when your blood is up, some might say that is more like crass stupidity, or being unnecessary reckless with ones life (shades of col h jones)

I suppose that is why millions admired Bobby Sands even though they may not support his cause.

By the way I feel the poppies in the tower of London are dreadful, they are all pretty pretty without a hint of the sheer awfulness of war. they are the equivalent of chocolate box painting and have nothing to do with art at its best which tells us something about the human condition.

Peter said...

Organised Rage
I believe patriotic fervour for empire was the prime motivator at the start of the war when 100s of thousands volunteered. Check out this video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/clips/zttk2hv If you have any evidence for the contrary I'd love to see it.

Tain Bo said...

O R,

Depends on what you read and then how you translate the poems at the front in many respects it was not about loyalty to ones country but situational loyalty of position to ones comrades.
This position was more eloquently put by a Canadian soldier in WW2 he said something along the lines,
“the stench of death, that is war all this rubbish about fighting for democracy and freedom, we were fighting for our lives, friends, and comrades.”

Here is a good example of the engrained thinking at the time.

Rupert Brooke. 1887-1915

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me;
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts peace, under an English heaven.

Some usually have heard that line about some corner of a field that is forever England.

Even in death he still manages to lay claim to some spot being all the better now as it is enriched with English decay. Meaning a dead Englishman is still superior to a living foreigner.
The poem is beyond conceited, riddled with slavish, mechanical, and empirical expression of English superiority. His comfortable background and his idealistic sense of living in the perfect English country gentleman’s garden was largely uninterrupted by the war. He didn’t experience life at the front.

He did experience a little combat but mostly marching in retreat, perhaps if he had lived to experience the true horrors he may have revisited his idealist admiration of himself and his country.

This particular soldier died a death less fitting than other war poets; he died of blood poisoning onboard a ship.
Reading the poem you get the image of a no nonsense dedicated action hero good propaganda but just another part of the old lie.

Yes, there are poets who put the blame squarely were it belonged. You have to remember anything anti war was treason and worse it was bad for the propaganda machines. E.E Cummings was a yank poet who volunteered in the French ambulance corps. He quickly became disillusioned and wrote about it, he was arrested for treason by the French and done a few months in one of their nicks.

The French in comparison to the British were treated far worse, there are many poems, letters, and writings of soldiers resentment of the war. A good flick to watch if you want to get a feel for French resentment is A Very Long Engagement:

A clip from A Very Long EngagementHere

Sassoon’s return to the front was not out of loyalty to the war but to his men and perhaps more importantly in all his time there he was convinced he was going to die at the front so he might have been wishing to fulfill his own prophecy, he was wounded and that was the end of his war.

That and I am guessing he wanted to die at least close to lets say his dear fellow officer Thomas.

The flowery image of parades of well dressed and drilled soldiers being bade farewell by loved ones is soon replaced with the bitter reality of war the patriotic soldier especially in that war soon forget what they are there for as the greater sense of duty and all that spin is replaced with the more important sense of staying alive.

Organized Rage said...

Peter

I am not denying the jingoism which took place at the beginning of the war, its why I mentioned the herd mentality and how this progressed to justifying continuing to fight for mates. One should not overlook the massive pressure young men were under to join the war, only yesterday someone said to me giving able bodied men a white feather was just one way the government of the day terrorised them to join up.

Tain Bo

Your right of course, that Brook poem especially grates on me as it is still used today by the English ruling class. By the way as always wise posts from you to this thread cheers.

Henry JoY said...

Táin

Thanks for the link to the clip from "A Very Long Engagement".

Certainly one for my viewing list.

Tain Bo said...

Henry,

it’s basically a love story or if you prefer the other victims of war those who await the knock at the door and if lucky have a loved one returned in a pine overcoat.

It does capture the brutality of French officers; it is not the context but the sub-context that unfolds the love-hate relationship.

Tain Bo said...

O R,

no surprise there, it is an anthem for the English elite and a cutting remark of those non-English loyalists a true expression of how inferior they are when viewed through the eyes of the English ruling class.

Years ago whilst reading about him I struggled with bouts of boredom which is amusing as the topic is WW1, I will get to the boredom connection in a reply to Beano, though it is easy to see why the ordinary soldier would resent Toff officers of his level and mindset.

Keep on raging mate

Tain Bo said...

Beano,

it is a bit odd that you say unfortunately will only be remembered” for only one poem, yet you reinforce that by using the same poem. It is an exceptional poem, though Anthem For Doomed Youth is more about his younger days than the war.

It is the Latin line that most remember and without it, it would probably sound unfinished and it could well have been finished although I think Sassoon is clearly having a dig not just with the war but at the government insisting the old lie, is true.

I would not view Owen as idealistic or at least no more than any youth then or now. He was particularly sensitive and over-protecting (especially with his mother) even at the front he displayed that protective nature when one night he left the trench in darkness, searching for a missing comrade only to fall into a deep shell creator which was the beginning of his journey to Craiglockhart War Hospital via quite a few other hospitals along the way.

Not all hospitals were as encouraging as they used electro-shock-therapy and other outdated methods of dealing with wounded minds. A stroke of good fortune as he was placed in the care of Dr. Brock colleague of the noted neurologist and psychologist Dr. Rivers another coincidental stroke of fortune Sassoon’s punishment would find him under the same care.

Before the war he may have been more of an idealist at 18 he graduated from Shrewsbury Tech School, a highlight that was soon snuffed out as he failed to win a scholarship to London University. This led him to take a peek at a religious vocational life as an unpaid lay assistant to the evangelical CoE Reverend Wigan. This bloke was supposed to show him the ropes so to speak but never really did, for whatever reason Owen agreed that he would hack it for 2 years and then make the coin toss about this religious calling.

Basically the Reverend was no mug and gave Owen the duty of caring for the parish sick and poor which ironically, he was one of them, as he had an unheated sparse room at the parish damp, dank living quarters without pay.
Not all was lost as this exposure opened his eyes to the CoE and how they did little too nothing to elevate the human misery of the poor in the flock or in more snobby terms the underprivileged and dispossessed.

In a sense one could argue he had lost a bit of patriotism with his disillusioned view of the CoE.

Reading in his spare time and penning some poetry that even then could be argued he displayed a certain understanding of sound and modulating rhythm a quality that he shared with his musical parents.
His stylistic qualities some would argue already set him apart.

Here it gets more interesting or at least more debatable as to what had an influence of his patriotism which we could say was spilt.

In 1913 he returned home seriously ill with a severe chest infection which wasn’t helped by living in the damp room provided for him by the cheap bastard Vicar.
After about 8 months he was on the mend wondering what to do he talked about becoming a graphic artist, a musician, or a poet as possible job choices or back in the day vocational choices. His Father was none too pleased with dreamy nonsense, basically telling him to get his head out of his arse and find a steady paying job.

...contd

Tain Bo said...

contd...

He goes to France but as a teacher at the Berlitz School of Languages in Bordeaux, he taught there for about a year and then went onto spend another year as a tutor to two kids in a probably well to do Catholic family.
His time spent there he had become a Francophile, returning to England in September (I think) 1915 unsure if he wanted to enlist.

On this one I think the attraction of the name Artistic Rifles might have appealed to his artistic nature and by October he enlisted, a commission in the Manchester Regiment, and by the end of December 1916 he was on his way to France with the Lancashire Fusiliers.

I don’t think he was blindly patriotic as you suggest and I am sure his experiences in his parish only feed the disillusionment as by now many of the poor he attended to were now spilling their blood for government that had no use for them at home. At best he was indifferent on patriotism and could also have been more determined to free France rather than England.

It was donkeys ago on the beak from the boredom of school and that repetitious structured so called learning, I came across accidently poems from the great war in the Belfast Central Library and would go up to the 3rd floor and just sit and read. Irony, British Soldiers would be a few hundred yards away manning the check-point at Royal Avenue. (Noticeable, they shared one thing in common with the men of the great war.)

To be honest I think you are breathing the air that Owen would avoid.

. Yes, it tells of the lies behind the reasons, but it wasn’t written by Owen from his experiences

Here you are in some sort of denial and confusion, first praise, and then it was his therapy that made him an exceptional poet not his experiences. You make him sound like he was mechanical just needing the right key in which his therapy makes him the poet.

That therapy was about confronting ones fears not about are you a poet. Dr. Brock only encouraged Owen to edit the Hydra the hospital journal. Years before that Owen was building himself up to be the poet and if anything 1917 was probably his finest year or as the scholarly types would say it was his annus mirabilis.

If I follow your logic it wasn’t the man who made himself the poet but a Dr. You agree it was the lies and then you go on to disagree with your own words and soften it up with the type of lie Owen was exposing.

In my younger years it dawned on me that I had been reading a great deal of war poets yet I knew little too nothing about these soldiers with pen and paper so I started reading up on them.

If you or anyone is still interested in my spin I will get to the Lions and Donkeys or my take on what is right and wrong about that.