futility poem wilfred owen biography




Move him into the sun— 
Gently its touch awoke him once , 
At home , whispering of fields unsown . 
Always it woke him , even in France , 
Until this morning and this snow .  
If anything might rouse him now 
The kind old sun will know .  


Think how it wakes the seeds ,-
Woke , once , the clays of a cold star .  
Are limbs , so dear - achieved , are sides ,
Full - nerved still warm - too hard to stir ? 
 Was if for this the clay grew tall?
- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?


             WILFRED OWEN enlisted in the Artist's Rifles despite bad health, in October 1915. During the First World War he met the poet Siegfried Sassoon who influenced him greatly and encouraged him to write directly about the subject of war.  Owen was killed in action on 4 November 1918 just a week before the war ended.  

            Owen's early poetry shows the influence of Keatsian romanticism.  But the poetry that has distinguished him as a war - poet was the result of his real life experiences in the trenches and on combat duty.  His mentor , Sassoon , had no illusions about war and wrote powerful satirical poems against it . 

             Owen's poetry is also a protest against the savagery of war.  He is bitterly satirical and speaks directly to his readers.  ' Futility ' focuses upon the bitterness and anguish felt at the untimely death of a young soldier.  The young boy's death poses before humanity at large a question regarding the significance and worth of human life. 

             Owen himself wrote , ' Above all I am not concerned with Poetry .  My subject is War and the nity of War.  The Poetry is in the Pity'.

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