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Wilfred Owen’s influences were originally from the Romantic poets such as Keats and Shelley. He spent time in his early 20s living and teaching in France, and then enlisted in 1915. During convalescence from shell-shock, he met Siegfried Sassoon which proved to be a transformative experience leading to a more gritty and realistic tone in his poetry. Returning to the front line in August 1918, he lead a number of troop assaults, but was shot and killed a week before the end of the war.
This is one of only five poems published during Owen’s lifetime, and is one of his best-known. It was also set by Britten in his War Requiem.
Suitable for school and community choirs
Dedicated to the Orlando Singers and director Anita Banbury
Text by Wilfred Owen