attitude to war
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Owen talks about the unfairness of war for the boys and men that die. Owen begins with a bitter tone as he asks rhetorically what "passing-bells" of mourning will sound for those soldiers who die like cattle in an undignified mass. They are not granted the rituals and rites of good Christian civilians back home. They do not get real prayers, only rifle fire. Their only "choirs" are of shells and bugles. This first set of imagery is violent, featuring weapons and harsh noises of war. It is set in contrast to images of the church; Owen is suggesting organized religion cannot offer much consolation to those dying on the front.