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Anthem for Doomed Youth(1917)

Wilfred Owen

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
MeterWhat passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
MeterOnly the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
MeterOnly the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle

Note on line 3: Rat-a-tat-tat. Every reader’s ear will catch the guttural assonance here, and be caught by the way “stuttering” reverberates through “rattle” into “Can patter” in the next line. The scanning reader hears, besides, how three pairs of double-slacks(the last over enjambment) reinforce Owen’s rapid-fire notation of combat stress disorder.

Can patter out their hasty orisons.
MeterCan patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
MeterNo mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,–
MeterNor any voice of mourning save the choirs,–
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
MeterThe shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
MeterAnd bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
MeterWhat candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
MeterNot in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
MeterShall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
MeterThe pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
MeterTheir flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
MeterAnd each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Rhyme
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