First World War Poetry Digital Archive

The Dread Of Falling Into Naught

THE DREAD OF FALLING INTO NAUGHT by WILFRED OWEN

Now slows the beat of Summer's dancing pulse; Her voice has weak and quaverous undertones; Cold agues in her hectic limbs convulse; Show palsies creep into her sapless bones. Ah! is she falling into Death so soon, so soon?

Ev'n so! and now the peerless forest green Is streaked with silvery pallor of decay. As a beauteous woman's locks may lose their sheen Through fearful dreams, and turn too early grey, So Summer paleth now, and moaneth in her swoon.

The expressions of her once-rich mind, and flowers, Are feeble-born, else rank unnaturally; And whoso looks on leafy garden bowers, Fresh bloodstains every misty morn may see, Split from her veins by Winter's lance, and conflict-strewn.

My power of life, though youthful, also sinks; Before my time I bear a hoary head; And chill airs strike my brow, that blow, methinks, Straight from the icy cavern of the dead. Night darkens round; my day shall know no afternoon.

O never mourn, my brothers! well ye know These crimson stains shall vanish from the trees; Washed by the precious ointment of the snow. A little while, and drowsy Earth's disease, Shall feel the healing quickness of another June.

I, only mourn, because I cannot tell What spring-renewing wakes the sleep of Men. I do but know, (ah! this I know too well) I shall not see the same sweet life again, Nor the dear Sun, nor stars, nor tender moon.

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