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Monday, 04 November 2013

'The End'

After the blast of lightning from the east,
The flourish of loud clouds, the Chariot throne,
After the drums of time have rolled and ceased
And from the bronze west long retreat is blown,

Shall Life renew these bodies?  Of a truth
All death will he annul, all tears assuage?
Or fill these void veins full again with youth
And wash with an immortal water age?

When I do ask white Age, he saith not so, --
"My head hangs weighed with snow."
And when I hearken to the Earth she saith
My fiery heart sinks aching.  It is death.
Mine ancient scars shall not be glorified
Nor my titanic tears the seas be dried."

Lines from the second verse are inscribed on Owen's grave.

Dominic Hibberd wrote: "The sonnet may be read as a comment on war, but one could hardly call it a war poem. Its conclusions go back to Owen's loss of belief in immortality as he watched the Dunsden children, its imagery to the 'thrilling' military band and the stunning sunlight at Merignac….."


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