Disabled
Wilfred Owen, (1893-1918)
Drafted at Craiglockhart in October 1917.

  • He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark
  • And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
  • Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
  • Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
  • Voices of play and pleasure after day,
  • Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
  • About this time Town used to swing so gay
  • When glow-lamps budded in the light blue trees,
  • And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim, -
  • In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
  • Now he will never feel again how slim
  • Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands.
  • All of them touch him like some queer disease.
  • There was an artist silly for his face,
  • For it was younger than his youth, last year.
  • Now, he is old; his back will never brace;
  • He's lost his colour very far from here,
  • Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
  • And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race
  • And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
  • One time he liked a blood-smear down his leg,
  • After the matches, carried shoulder-high.
  • It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,
  • He thought he'd better join. - He wonders why.
  • Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts,
  • That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,
  • Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts
  • He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;
  • Smiling they wrote his lie: aged nineteen years.
  • Germans he scarcely thought of; all their guilt,
  • And Austria's, did not move him. And no fears
  • Of Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hilts
  • For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
  • And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
  • Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
  • And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.
  • Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
  • Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
  • Thanked him; and then enquired about his soul.
  • Now, he will spend a few sick years in institutes,
  • And do what things the rules consider wise,
  • And take whatever pity they may dole.
  • Tonight he noticed how the women's eyes
  • Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
  • How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
  • And put him into bed? Why don't they come?
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