Guest poem submitted by Martin Davis: It suddenly occurred to me that the Minstrels' collection of Wilfred Owen poems doesn't include this one, which ties in with the unusual perspectives on warfare theme:
(Poem #1037) The Last Laugh
'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 falling splinters 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.
I'm surprised that this poem isn't more anthologised. I've always had an enormous respect for Owen's poetry, and yet only came across this one a couple of years ago. If you were looking for examples of alliteration, assonance, onomatopeia and personification that might catch the interest of a class of disaffected teenagers, you'd have trouble finding a better poem. Read it out loud and you can practically smell the mud in the crater you've just dived into. But for me, the poem's unique power and anger is in its vivid depiction of warm, illogical, emotional humanity being slaughtered by the machines. Martin. [Minstrels Links] Wilfred Owen: Poem #132, Dulce Et Decorum Est Poem #232, Insensibility Poem #288, Futility Poem #321, Strange Meeting Poem #979, The Parable of the Old Man and the Young This week's theme: Poem #1033, What the Bullet Sang -- Bret Harte Poem #1034, Pigtail -- Tadeusz Ròzewicz Poem #1035, The Hand that Signed the Paper -- Dylan Thomas Poem #1036, Range Finding -- Robert Frost Poem #1037, The Last Laugh -- Wilfred Owen