Thursday, February 21, 2013

Analysis of "1914" by Wilfred Owen

Original poem reprinted online here: "1914" by Wilfred Owen
Originally read: December 16, 2012
More information about the Poet: Wilfred Owen


So this poem is a timepiece which depicts the feeling/mood/era of World War I.  War poems are tricky things.  There's always the outsider looking in perspective -- the ones who judge the war, and there's always the insider trying to make sense of it all for the outside.  I'll admit, that I don't have a sense for war even though America has, technically, been at war for over ten years at this point.  It's really kind of odd when I think about it.

Anyway, this is not a politics blog (oh those will come eventually, or actually I have done those in the past).  And the strongest feature in the poem are the phrases in the poem.  I note several in my written notes: "sails of progress", "verse wails", "human Autumn rots", "blood for seed".  It's not like these words create strong realistic images -- but there's a surreal aspect with  the descriptions.

And even though those phrases aren't tied down to "real images" they work for me in two ways.

1) As a person who never has been to war and only understands such things through movies, articles, etc.  I feel the phrases agree with my thoughts about war.

however

2) Looking at the phrases -- they might come as euphemisms for real life actions -- a rotting body, the artist torn asunder.  It's the only way that I, or the speaker, can comprehend war.  But we are distanced from the "real" thing.

I guess I come away with this question after rereading this poem.  Is the surreal easier to relate to since, theoretically, no one can experience a surreal image, or is it just, for me, difficult to conceive and/or emote with concrete images if I haven't directly experienced them before.  I'm not too sure anymore.  As always.


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