Happiness – Poem by Wilfred Owen (b. 1893 d. 1918)
Ever again to breath pure happiness,
So happy that we gave away our toy?
We smiled at nothings, needing no caress?
Have we laughed too often since with Joy?
Have we not stolen too strange and sorrowful wrongs
For her hands’ pardoning? The sun may cleanse,
And time, and starlight. Life will sing great songs,
And Gods will show us pleasures more than men’s.
Yet heaven looks smaller than the old doll’s-home,
No nesting place is left in bluebell bloom,
And the wide arms of trees have lost their scope.
The former happiness is unreturning:
Boys’ griefs are not so grievous as youth’s yearning.
Boys have no sadness sadder than our hope.
Wilfred Owen, English poet, enlisted in the infantry in 1915 during WW I and was commissioned a second lieutenant. He was wounded in combat in 1917 and while recuperating, met poet Siegfried Sassoon, who served as a mentor and introduced him to well-known literary figures such as Robert Graves and H. G. Wells.
It was at this time Owen wrote many of his most important poems, including “Anthem for Doomed Youth” and “Dulce et Decorum Est.” His poetry often graphically illustrated the horrors of warfare, the physical landscapes that surrounded him, and the human body in relation to those landscapes. His verses stand in stark contrast to the patriotic poems of war written by earlier poets of Great Britain…Owen rejoined his regiment in Scarborough in June 1918, and in August, he returned to France. He was awarded the Military Cross for bravery at Amiens. He was killed on November 4 of that year while attempting to lead his men across the Sambre-Oise canal at Ors. He was 25 years old. http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/wilfred-owen