Here’s the full poem.


This poem was first drafted while Owen was in France in 1914 and was later revised around the end of 1917. (Stallworthy).

Guiding Questions (These follow the same pattern as the analysis of any poem):

  1. What is Owen describing in this poem?
  2. What is Owen saying about the year 1914? In other words, what is the central idea of this poem?
  3. What are the poetic devices Owen has in the construction of his poem?
  4. What are the effects of these devices?
  5. How does Owen’s use of language help him to express his idea/s?

In order to fully appreciate the poetic devices Owen has used in this poem, it important that you understand the following poetic devices and terms:

  • Figurative language (e.g. extended metaphor)
  • Imagery (seasons, farming)
  • Allusion (Greek and Roman empires)

In order to write accurately about the poem, you may want to learn these terms too.

  • Sonnet
  • Iambic Pentameter
  • Octet and Sestet



  • perishing: fading, dying, withering away slowly
  • whirled: tossed around and around, often by the wind
  • rending: tearing
  • furled: rolled up; stored away
  • ensigns: a sign, token or emblem, such as a flag.
  • wails: cries.
  • down-hurled: thrown down with force
  • Greece and Rome: important empires early in the history of Western civilization


Owen, Wilfred, and Jon Stallworthy. The War Poems of Wilfred Owen. London: Chatto & Windus, 1994. Print.