‘O Jesus Christ! I’m hit,’ he said; and died.

Whether he vainly cursed or prayed indeed,
                 The Bullets chirped—In vain, vain, vain!

                 Machine-guns chuckled—Tut-tut! Tut-tut!

                 And the Big Gun guffawed.

Another sighed,—‘O Mother,—mother,—Dad!’
Then smiled at nothing, childlike, being dead.

                 And the lofty Shrapnel-cloud

                 Leisurely gestured,—Fool!
            
                 And the splinters spat, and tittered.

‘My Love!’ one moaned. Love-languid seemed his mood,

Till slowly lowered, his whole face kissed the mud.

                 And the Bayonets’ long teeth grinned;
                 Rabbles of Shells hooted and groaned;
                 And the Gas hissed.

Notes:
POL Participants: several changes to punctuation have been changed, and the line "And the falling splinters tittered" was changed to "And the splinters spat, and tittered", in June 2014.
  • Source: The Poems of Wilfred Owen, edited by Jon Stallworthy (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1986)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I've had the opportunity to meet students and teachers across Montana who share a love for the arts. Poetry Out Loud fosters a connection between all who participate. I've made connections with peers and mentors that will last for years to come."
Savannah Smith
2016 MT POL Champion