The Chances
Wilfred Owen, (1893-1918)
  • Drafted at Craiglockhart in August-September 1917.
  • This poem shows the influence of Siegfried Sassoon.
  • Revised in July 1918.

  • I 'mind as how the night before the show
  • Us five got talkin'; we was in the know.
  • 'Ah well,' says Jimmy, and he's seen some scrappin',
  • 'There ain't no more than five things as can happen,-
  • You get knocked out; else wounded, bad or cushy;
  • Scuppered; or nowt except you're feelin' mushy.'
  • One of us got the knock-out, blown to chops;
  • One lad was hurt, like, losin' both his props
  • And one-to use the word of hypocrites-
  • Had the misfortune to be took by Fritz.
  • Now me, I wasn't scratched, praise God Almighty,
  • Though next time please I'll thank Him for a blighty
  • But poor old Jim, he's livin' and he's not;
  • He reckoned he'd five chances, and he had;
  • He's wounded, killed, and pris'ner, all the lot
  • The flamin' lot all roled in one. Jim's mad.
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