Anthem for Doomed Youth

Anthem for Doomed Youth

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; no 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 goodbyes.
       The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Wilfred Owen, November, 1917

France mobilized 8,400,000 men and suffered 6 million casualties (73%)
French women and children emerging from cellars
French women and children of Chateau-Thierry emerge from the cellars

The War of the Nations Portfolio (New York: The New York Times Co., 1919), 410.

(image 08 of 45)

Emile Friant
81 x 63 cm
Translation: Come to the aid of the soldiers of Alsace and Lorraine