Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SEND-OFF, by WILFRED OWEN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE SEND-OFF, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Down the close darkening lanes they sang their way
Last Line: Up half-known roads.
Subject(s): Soldiers' Writings; War; World War I; First World War

Down the close, darkening lanes they sang their way

To the siding-shed,

And lined the train with faces grimly gay.

Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray

As men's are, dead.

Dull porters watched them, and a casual tramp

Stood staring hard,

Sorry to miss them from the upland camp.

Then, unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp

Winked to the guard.

So secretly, like wrongs hushed-up, they went.

They were not ours:

We never heard to which front these were sent.

Nor there if they yet mock what women meant

Who gave them flowers.

Shall they return to beatings of great bells

In wild trainloads?

A few, a few, too few for drums and yells,

May creep back, silent, to still village wells

Up half-known roads.

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