What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty horizons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, –
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Wilfred Owen, September - October, 1917
I want these deaths to die away,
To no more bring such grief their way;
To let these families mourn
And grieve for those so born,
To give their lives so needlessly,
In grotesque vanity,
And for electoral victory.
Please bring an end to war and awfulness,
Such innocence, so under stress.
Soldiers should be for our defence,
Not for political expedience.
Left and right unite to bring some sense,
Be done with all this arrogance.