Handout for lesson 2 of Joanne Gray's lesson plans on First World War poetry.
This collection of lesson plans aim to provide greater understanding and knowledge of the impact of the First World War on poetry, and provide some insight into the conditions in which it was written. To look at poetry as propaganda
By Wilfred Owen
Our brainsache,inthe mercilessicedeastwindsthatknive us . . .
Weariedwe keepawake because the nightissilent . . .
Low droopingflaresconfuse ourmemoryof the salient . . .
Watching,we hearthe madgusts tuggingonthe wire,
Like twitchingagoniesof menamongitsbrambles.
Far off,like adull rumourof some otherwar.
What are we doinghere?
The poignantmiseryof dawnbeginstogrow . . .
We onlyknowwarlasts,rain soaks,andcloudssag stormy.
Dawn massinginthe easthermelancholyarmy
Attacksonce more inranks onshiveringranksof grey,
Suddensuccessiveflightsof bulletsstreakthe silence.
Lessdeadlythanthe air that shuddersblackwithsnow,
We watchthemwanderingupanddownthe wind'snonchalance,
Pale flakeswithfingeringstealthcome feelingforourfaces—
We cringe inholes,backon forgottendreams,andstare,snow-dazed,
Litteredwithblossomstricklingwhere the blackbirdfusses.
—Isit that we are dying?
Slowlyourghostsdrag home:glimpsingthe sunkfires,glozed
For hoursthe innocentmice rejoice:the house istheirs;
Shuttersanddoors,all closed:onus the doors are closed,—
We turn back to ourdying.
Since we believe nototherwise cankindfiresburn;
Noweversunssmile true onchild,orfield,orfruit.
For God's invincible springourlove ismade afraid;
Therefore,notloath,we lie outhere;therefore wereborn,
For love of God seemsdying.
Pause overhalf-knownfaces.All theireyesare ice,
QuestionSheet –Exposure – By WilfredOwen
1) What does the title ‘Exposure’ refer to?
2) What poetic technique is used with, ‘Fusses’ and ‘Faces’?
3) What does incessantly mean?
4) ‘Pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling for our faces – ‘
What poetic technique does Owen use in this line? Whateffect does it
5) Owen repeats the line, ‘But nothing happens’. Whatdoes he mean by
6) What poetic technique is used in the following line? What effect does it
create? ‘Sudden successiveflights of bullets streak the silence.’
7) Owen makes use of the senses throughoutthe poem. Give an
example/quote for each senseand explain its effect?