Anthem for Doomed Youth

I’ve just finished reading (actually, re-reading) “The Kite Runner”. It tells a very gripping story woven across the years that turned a beautiful and proud nation of Afghanistan into a land of devastation.

I once read somewhere that there’s nothing more tragic than the death of a man while he is yet living. I guess, there is. Death of a nation, while it yet exists. Because when a nation dies, it takes down with it a whole way of life, and brings up ruin upon the heads of future generations as well. Especially, when hope of resurgence is nowhere in sight.

And yet, despite all our advancements, globalization and talk of peace, the demon of destruction is still allowed a free dance wherever he pleases.

War is such a waste of…EVERYTHING! I mean, there might have been a time when it was considered glorious. But now, its futility is visible to every one of us. It creates more problems and solves none. The tragedy however is, that the world still continues to embrace wars and violence. And while we sit here, in the comfort and safety of our rooms, somewhere a soldier is breathing his last and a little baby has lost all its world even before its fingers could grasp a shred of it.

In the world of literature, I have come across several works that actually glorify war. The Charge Of The Light Brigade by Tennyson, for example. It is a beautiful poem, of course, and moving too. But it throws a glittering veneer over the naked futility of war.

But here is a poem that I came across while searching for poems for my blog Golden-Smiles-n-Tears-of-Poetry. It is a Petrarchan  Sonnet that shows war just as it is, a senseless destruction of life. This poem was written by English poet Wilfred Owen who too served this monster called war and fed it with his own life and blood. He was killed at the front at a young age of 25. ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ was written in September 1917, but it was published posthumously in 1920, two years after Owen was killed.

~*~ Anthem for Doomed Youth~*~

By: – Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle

Can patter out their hasty orisons.

No mockeries for them from prayers or bells,

Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—

The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;

And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?

Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes

Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.

The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;

Their flowers the tenderness of silent maids,

And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Share your thoughts, please!