The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

August 4, 2006

place, of which we dream of hearth and woods, a space
dark time with which to roam the park,
collapsed into death's dull doom, relapsed
in flowered beauty, wounded like a pin
dropped on sundered skin, trembling, yet stopped;
so grids encapsulate the final blow,
lines carry weights of dreams of oaks and pines,
of hearths, of kindness, of robin, home, and dove
soaring across charred lands; planes and guns are roaring
still; vectors struggle, travel up the hill

for Wilfred Owen in these times


This book is not about heroes.  English Poetry is not yet fit to speak
  of them.  Nor is it about deeds or lands, nor anything about glory,
honour, dominion or power,
                               except War.
Above all, this book is not concerned with Poetry.
The subject of it is War, and the pity of War.
The Poetry is in the pity.
Yet these elegies are not to this generation,
         This is in no sense consolatory.

They may be to the next.
All the poet can do to-day is to warn.
That is why the true Poets must be truthful.
If I thought the letter of this book would last,
I might have used proper names; but if the spirit of it survives Prussia,
   my ambition and those names will be content; for they will have
   achieved themselves fresher fields than Flanders.

      Note. --  This Preface was found, in an unfinished condition,
                among Wilfred Owen's papers.

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