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A Terre Analysis

Author: poem of Wilfred Owen Type: poem Views: 13

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    (Being the philosophy of many Soldiers.)

Sit on the bed; I'm blind, and three parts shell,

Be careful; can't shake hands now; never shall.

Both arms have mutinied against me -- brutes.

My fingers fidget like ten idle brats.

I tried to peg out soldierly -- no use!

One dies of war like any old disease.

This bandage feels like pennies on my eyes.

I have my medals? --  Discs to make eyes close.

My glorious ribbons? --  Ripped from my own back

In scarlet shreds.  (That's for your poetry book.)

A short life and a merry one, my brick!

We used to say we'd hate to live dead old, --

Yet now . . . I'd willingly be puffy, bald,

And patriotic.  Buffers catch from boys

At least the jokes hurled at them.  I suppose

Little I'd ever teach a son, but hitting,

Shooting, war, hunting, all the arts of hurting.

Well, that's what I learnt, -- that, and making money.

Your fifty years ahead seem none too many?

Tell me how long I've got?  God!  For one year

To help myself to nothing more than air!

One Spring!  Is one too good to spare, too long?

Spring wind would work its own way to my lung,

And grow me legs as quick as lilac-shoots.

My servant's lamed, but listen how he shouts!

When I'm lugged out, he'll still be good for that.

Here in this mummy-case, you know, I've thought

How well I might have swept his floors for ever,

I'd ask no night off when the bustle's over,

Enjoying so the dirt.  Who's prejudiced

Against a grimed hand when his own's quite dust,

Less live than specks that in the sun-shafts turn,

Less warm than dust that mixes with arms' tan?

I'd love to be a sweep, now, black as Town,

Yes, or a muckman.  Must I be his load?

O Life, Life, let me breathe, -- a dug-out rat!

Not worse than ours the existences rats lead --

Nosing along at night down some safe vat,

They find a shell-proof home before they rot.

Dead men may envy living mites in cheese,

Or good germs even.  Microbes have their joys,

And subdivide, and never come to death,

Certainly flowers have the easiest time on earth.

"I shall be one with nature, herb, and stone."

Shelley would tell me.  Shelley would be stunned;

The dullest Tommy hugs that fancy now.

"Pushing up daisies," is their creed, you know.

To grain, then, go my fat, to buds my sap,

For all the usefulness there is in soap.

D'you think the Boche will ever stew man-soup?

Some day, no doubt, if . . .

                              Friend, be very sure

I shall be better off with plants that share

More peaceably the meadow and the shower.

Soft rains will touch me, -- as they could touch once,

And nothing but the sun shall make me ware.

Your guns may crash around me.  I'll not hear;

Or, if I wince, I shall not know I wince.

Don't take my soul's poor comfort for your jest.

Soldiers may grow a soul when turned to fronds,

But here the thing's best left at home with friends.

My soul's a little grief, grappling your chest,

To climb your throat on sobs; easily chased

On other sighs and wiped by fresher winds.

Carry my crying spirit till it's weaned

To do without what blood remained these wounds.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

The narrator of the poem takes the opportunity to expose the harsh realities of war and also the use of propaganda by the govenrnment that was used to get boys to enlist.

| Posted on 2012-10-09 | by a guest

.: :.

Lovely stuff about a dying man explaning how is death is terriable; top marks

| Posted on 2012-02-06 | by a guest

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this is a really interesting site in understanding Owen: x

| Posted on 2011-11-13 | by a guest

.: :.

Caesurain the poem reflects the complexity of his thoughts and his agitated state

| Posted on 2011-05-21 | by a guest

.: :.

A dying soldier, filled with sadness and regret, speaks to a nearby friend (quite possibly Sassoon). Horribly injured, the narrator knows that he doesnt have long left. He cries out to live, and conisiders that even rats have better existence than humans. He finishes by saying that he may be better off dead, but that his friend (or the reader) should take no comfort in this, as they beer some of the guilt for his death.

| Posted on 2011-05-14 | by a guest

.: :.

A\'terre is about a man suffering from a lung disease, which is shown in the structure of the poem, as its \'hard to breathe\' this is also shown in stanza 8 \"my soul\'s a little grief, grappling your chest\"
The poem throughout is explaining that anything is better than death. He also mentions that he feels a waste of War \"or a muckman. Must i be his load\" a muckman is a cleaner, must be be the cleaners waste?
The poem also mentions the longing to be old,\"I\'d willing be puffy, bold and patriotic\" similarly in
Miners \"arms streched out, well cheered\" and \"comforted years will sit soft chaired\" Both indicate the comfort of being old.

| Posted on 2011-04-22 | by a guest

.: :.

This poem is wierd
do you find this x investment[/URL]

| Posted on 2010-06-05 | by a guest

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A Terre is a poem about the physical loss suffered by a soldier entrapped within his deteriorating body. He is describing to the auditor the mental and physical effects of his condition that have made him less than human, "I'm blind and three parts shell," and out of control of his own body.
Much like Owen's "Disabled," the speaker seems to be waiting for something that will allow him to escape from his situation, even if that means death. Whilst he waits he laments upon the life war has made him lose, he is so damaged that even rodents have more freedom than him.

| Posted on 2010-06-05 | by a guest

.: :.

This dramatic monologue is a speech from a dying soldier. The strong imagery describes the lack of control felt by a man injured by war.
The irregular form is a reflection of the broken physical and mental state of the narrator. He appears to be addressing another poet in line 10 teh part in parenthesis. The persona contemplates death using sdarcasm in line 11. Stanza 5 sees him predict / foresee his death. He describes how war levels the social classes and soldiers are reduced to rats in stanza 6 and to babies in the final stanza. Owen questions his faith in this nihilistic depiction of the aftermath of war.

| Posted on 2010-04-25 | by a guest

.: :.

This poem goes into much depth, detail, about the life lost of a special friend. Wilfred Owen arguably is one of the best war poets.

| Posted on 2008-06-18 | by a guest

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