Wilfred Owen: Poems

Critically evaluate THE NEXT WAR by Wilfred Owen

Here is a copy of the poem:

War's a joke for me and you,

While we know such dreams are true.


Out there, we've walked quite friendly up to Death;

Sat down an eaten with him, cool and bland, -

Pardoned his spilling mess-tins in our hand.

We've sniffed the green thick odour of his breath, -

Our eyes wept, but our courage didn't writhe.

He's spat at us with bullets and he's coughed

Shrapnel. We chorused when he sang aloft;

We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.

Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!

We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.

No soldier's paid to kick against his powers.

We laughed, knowing that better men would come,

And greater wars; when each proud fighter brags

He wars on Death - for lives; not men - for flags.

Thank you!

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Last updated by jill d #170087
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The poem is simple and yet quite powerful. The poet's intention here is to point out the difference between bravery and purpose, something as important today as it's been throughout modern history. It exemplifies that citizens are expected to serve their country when countries resort to conflict.

The soldier here is a brave man. He's facing the life and death struggle of war on a daily basis. He doesn't say he agrees with the war, that the war represents his people, or that war has value. He speaking on behalf of the men who face the war and its horrors, the men who want nothing more than to survive.