Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen’s poetry is timeless. Discuss

Wilfred Owen’s poetry is timeless. Poems such as Anthem for Doomed Youth and Futility are just as relevant today as they were during the devastation and carnage of World War I. It is Owen’s mastery with language that accounts for this timelessness, his very vivid imagery and his evocative use of appeal to the senses is what assists the responder to view the experience of war as a truly horrific one.

Anthem for Doomed Youth is a poignant poem. It looks at what happens when young men die in battle on foreign soil. These soldiers are not given a proper burial; there is no dignity associated with their deaths, no church ceremony. What replaces the traditional symbolism of funeral rites are the images and sounds of warfare.
Owen’s poem is timeless as it describes the loneliness and sadness associated with dying in such atrocious and terrifying conditions so far away from home. Today such circumstances happen as we read of deaths of Australian soldiers in the Middle East.
Owen’s use of certain language devices reinforces the timelessness of his poems.

Owen’s condemnation of war is apparent at the start of Anthem for Doomed Youth. He asks the rhetorical question: “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?”
The use of such a question challenges the responder to think about the unnecessary slaughter of young lives – such a question is timeless as we continually ask ourselves the same question with the loss of each new life.
The use of simile in “those who die as cattle” indicates the inhumane way in which the war heroes died. The simile also reinforces the idea of timelessness, as we know even today, that the loss of human lives in war amounts to the same thing – slaughter. Young men fighting for their country are mere numbers just like branded and numbered cattle butchered daily for human consumption.

The poem Anthem for Doomed Youth is still relevant today as it shares the same ideals as most people in...