We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 16: Wilfred Owen


Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery* 

John Scales Avery, author of this book: We Need Their Voices Today! has generously granted Human Wrongs Watch permission to publish it in a series of chapters. This is Chapter 16: Wilfred Owen. The others will follow successively.

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wilfred

Figure 16.1: Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) (Wikipedia).

Expressing the horror of war

Wilfred Owen and his mentor, Siegfried Sassoon were two poets who eloquently described the horrors of World War I.

They met in a military hospital, after both had been wounded in the war. Owen had been writing poetry since the age of 11, but not about war.

When he became friends with Sassoon during their hospital stay, Owen was inspired by Sassoon’s example and realized that the horrors of trenches and gas warfare deserved to be described realistically in poetry.

Against the strong advice of Sassoon, Owen insisted on returning to active duty in France, where he wrote the eloquent and bitter war poems for which he is remembered.

Owen was killed in action exactly one week before the end of the war. His mother received the telegram informing her of his death on Armistice Day, as the church bells were ringing out in celebration.

Here are two of Owen’s poems:

Dulce et decorum Est

“Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned out backs,

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

“Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling\

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.

Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning

In all my dreams before my helpless sight

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

“If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace\

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin,

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.”

The parable of the old man and the young

“So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,

And took the fire with him, and a knife.

And as they sojourned both of them together,

Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,

Behold the preparations, fire and iron,

But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?

Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,

and builded parapets and trenches there,

And stretch\`ed forth the knife to slay his son.

When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,

Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,

Neither do anything to him. Behold,

A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;

Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

“But the old man would not so, but slew his son,

And half the seed of Europe, one by one.”

Wilfred Owen, eloquent opponent of war, tragic victim of war, we need your voice today!

Read Previous Chapters:

Introduction: We Need Their Voices Today! Compassion and Greed: Two Sides of Human Nature

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (1) Saint Francis of Assisi

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (2) Thomas Paine

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (3) Thomas Jefferson

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (4) Mary Wollstonecraft

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (5) William Godwin

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (7) The Marquis de Condorcet

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 8: Thomas Robert Malthus

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 9: Percy Bysshe Shelley

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 10: Robert Owen

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 11: John Stuart Mill

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 12: Henry David Thoreau

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 13: Count Leo Tolstoy

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 14: Mahatma Gandhi

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 15: Martin Luther King Jr

——-

johnavery2*AUTHOR: John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London.

He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf).

Read more John Scales Avery’s articles published in Human Wrongs Watch:

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 15: Martin Luther King Jr

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 14: Mahatma Gandhi

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 13: Count Leo Tolstoy

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 12: Henry David Thoreau

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 11: John Stuart Mill

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 10: Robert Owen

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 9: Percy Bysshe Shelley

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 8: Thomas Robert Malthus

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (7) The Marquis de Condorcet

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (5) William Godwin

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (4) Mary Wollstonecraft

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (3) Thomas Jefferson

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (2) Thomas Paine

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (1) Saint Francis of Assisi

We Need Their Voices Today! Compassion and Greed: Two Sides of Human Nature

Interview with John Scales Avery, One of the Greatest Living Intellectuals on Earth

Trump and the Deep State

Individual  Responsibility

We Must Not Demonize and Threaten Russia

Tribalism, Nationalism and Fascism

Europe Must Not Be a Vassal to Trump’s USA

Trump Threatens the World with Climate Disaster

Gorbachev Appeals for Sanity, Dialogue

What U.S. Progressives Should Do on November 8

Science and Society

Fossil Fuels: At What Price?

Human Nature: An Evolutionary Paradox

Mainstream Media Are Betraying Humanity

US Elections Cry Out for Reform!

NATO Threatens Europe With Annihilation

USA: Another Stolen Election?

The Danger of Fascism in the United States

Creating the Future

OPEC Oil and Climate Change

A Scientist Presses for Action on Many Fronts: A Review of The Need for a New Economic System by John Scales Avery

John Scales Avery – Collected Essays

Pharming

Culture, Education and Human Solidarity

The United States Drifts Towards Political Irresponsibilty

Paris: We Need System Change!

Paris and the Long-Term Future

We Must Stop the Madness of Brinkmanship

Paris, India, and Coal

Paris: A Sense of Proportions Is Urgently Needed

Debt Slavery

Book Review: Aurelio Peccei and Daisako Ikeda, “Before It Is Too Late”

The Need for a New Economic System – PART IX: a New Society, a New Social Contract, a New Way Life

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VIII: The Cooperative Movement

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VII: The Global Food Crisis

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VI: Adverse Effects of Globalization

The Need for a New Economic System – PART V: The Threats and Costs of War

The Need for a New Economic System – PART IV: Neocolonialism and Resource Wars

The Need for a New Economic System – Part III: Climate Change and the Urgent Need for Renewable Energy

The Need for a New Economic System – PART II: Entropy and Economics

The Need for a New Economic System – PART I : Limits to Growth

Israel, Iran and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Debt Slavery

Will the Real Issues Be Discussed in 2016?

Militarism’s Hostages

New Hope for Avoiding Catastrophic Climate Change

Exponential Growth

Albert Einstein, Scientist and Pacifist

“The Path to Zero: Dialogues on Nuclear Dangers”, by Richard Falk and David Krieger

Millay’s “Epitaph for the Race of Man” 

The Future of International Law (Part I)

The Future of International Law (Part II)

The Future of International Law (Part III)

Europe Must Not Be Forced Into a Nuclear War with Russia

Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe – The Dangers Are Very Great Today

Why Is the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons So Urgent?

Why Is the Military-Industrial Complex Sometimes Called “The Devil’s Dynamo”?

Of Reciprocity and Karma

Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand Is at Our Throats

Perpetual War

Kill or Be Killed… Or Both!

Does It Make Sense to Saw Off the Branch on Which You Are Sitting?

Blood for Oil – The Close Relationship Between Petroleum and War

2017 Human Wrongs Watch

2 Comments to “We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 16: Wilfred Owen”

  1. Dear John, Many many blessings I am followiing and reading your book. Is it published now? Amazed at your committment and energy much love Heather

    On Sun, Aug 6, 2017 at 6:37 AM, HUMAN WRONGS WATCH wrote:

    > Baher Kamal posted: “Human Wrongs Watch By John Scales Avery* John Scales > Avery, author of this book: We Need Their Voices > Today! has generously granted Human Wrongs Watch permission to publish it > in a series of chapters. This is Chapter 16: Wilfred Owen. The others will > f” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear John, Many many blessings I am followiing and reading your book. Is it published now? Amazed at your committment and energy much love Heather

    Like

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