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Poem Title:  Asleep

Poem Category:  War Poems

Poet:  Wilfrid Owen

Poet Biography: 
Wilfred Owen was born 1893 in Oswestry (United Kingdom). He moved to Bordeaux (France) in 1913, as a teacher of English. He enlisted in the Artists' Rifles on 21st October 1915. Drafted to France in 1917 his total war experience was short: four months, from which only five weeks in the line. On this is based all his war poetry. After battle experience, thoroughly shocked by horrors of war, he went to Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh. Owen returned to France in 1918 and just seven days before war ended on 11th November 1918 at 11 o'clock, he was killed in one of the last vain battles of the war.



Poem: 
Under his helmet, up against his pack,
After so many days of work and waking,
Sleep took him by the brow and laid him back.

There, in the happy no-time of his sleeping,
Death took him by the heart. There heaved a quaking
Of the aborted life within him leaping,
Then chest and sleepy arms once more fell slack.

And soon the slow, stray blood came creeping
From the intruding lead, like ants on track.

Whether his deeper sleep lie shaded by the shaking
Of great wings, and the thoughts that hung the stars,
High-pillowed on calm pillows of God's making,
Above these clouds, these rains, these sleets of lead,
And these winds' scimitars,
-Or whether yet his thin and sodden head
Confuses more and more with the low mould,
His hair being one with the grey grass
Of finished fields, and wire-scrags rusty-old,
Who knows? Who hopes? Who troubles? Let it pass!
He sleeps. He sleeps less tremulous, less cold,
Than we who wake, and waking say Alas!


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