The Send-Off. Wilfred Owen. Poem. Reintroduced

PSRemeshChandra By PSRemeshChandra, 17th Jan 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2m900dvw/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

Jean Jacques Bebel, the Swiss historian has calculated that in the 5000 years of the recent history of the world, only 282 years were devoid of any kind of wars. Peace is the brief interval between two wars. A shot sent at a visiting Prussian Prince and his wife by a young student at Austria, and the life of millions was shattered and the way of life of the world changed for ever. Horrors of the First World War were sung by thousands but Wilfred Owens’ poems were brought hot from the war front.

The voice of the First World War passed away, knowing not about the fame that was to come to his name.

If World War First had a voice, we can say that it was Wilfred Owen, employed in active service, singing about the horrors of war and killed in action. In his brief life time, only four of his poems were published, but after his death, dozens of them were published and brought out as books. It is believed, many of them have not still come to light. Awarded the Military Cross for bravery posthumously, he passed away in poetic anonymity, knowing not about the fame that was to come to his name in future. Speaking for men in the trenches under his leadership was what he did through his poems, which, it seems, were all written during the last two years of his life, 1917 and 1918.

Soldiers sitting in trains, in funeral decorations, going to war front.

Wilfred Owen was a British poet who was killed during action in the First World War. Insensibility, Strange Meeting and The Send-Off are his most famous anti-war poems in which he brings out the pity, realism and irony of war, reflecting his and his soldiers’ negative attitude towards war. He sees no romanticism or chivalry in war, but only death, destruction and decay. True, what else is there in war except the glory of victory for a few and the shame of defeat or death for many? But when defense of one's motherland is concerned, opinions may vary and war may have to be justified. In the poem The Send-Off, soldiers in a mountain military camp are ordered to move out to war front, who sing their way to the railway siding-sheds and line the train with faces grimly gray, meaning faces darker than black. Decorations all white, like wreath and spray, are pinned to their breasts making them already looking like dead men clad in white, sitting in a row, all looking out the train windows. We are forced to think about the tremendous thoughts streaming through those troubled souls, someone’s father, brother, uncle, one among them certainly the poet himself. The strong sentiments these and the coming scenes create in our minds move us and carry us such away that we are forced to weep, cringe and shudder, which is this poet’s victory which he enjoys standing among the stars. How many of these soldiers will ever return?

A few more minutes’ sunshine and mountain air before going to the frontier, never to return.

A military camp normally will be a nuisance to the local people there. So exactly there were none there to give them a proper send-off. Those people might only be glad to see them all go and never return. A few dull porters and a lone tramp were the only ones there to see them go and sorry to see them going too, for they were the ones who benefited from the camp, now losing their daily bread and jam. At least the mechanically punctual railway signals, unlike the local human beings, could have shown them a little of mercy by sparing them a few more minutes’ sunshine and mountain air. But they, the unmoved signals too, nodded heartlessly, a railway lamp winked to the guard and the train began to move, all in time. They were gone.

NOTE: Due to technical reasons, I am unable to post the full article with pictures here. Sorry. But substitute arrangements have been made for you read it in full with pictures in my blog Sahyadri Books Trivandrum absolutely free, with permission to download or copy. Thanking you, P. S. Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
18th Jan 2013 (#)

My fervent hope and prayers are for war and strife to end. Am I being idealistic? So be it! We have come thus far and we know wars kill and affect the most innocent. The heroes who are decorated for bravery also end up with mental anguish at being part of the insane violence. I believe few start wars and incite their citizens. With the help of technology the majority should unite and not fall into their vicious hands time and time again. Like a World War veteran reminisced - what use a piece of paper of peace in the end for those who are killed and maimed? Thanks for this wonderful post - siva

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author avatar PSRemeshChandra
30th Jan 2013 (#)

War is an unnecessary expense in which nations waste resources and innumerable units of precious time and man power. To defeat another country, we spend unimaginably huge sums of money. Most often those countries could be bought with only a fraction of this money. Such futile and waste is war because it never improves mankind. Thank you dear Sivaramakrishnan A for your informative and inspiring note.

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
20th Jan 2013 (#)

Wow! what a nice piece of article to read, wonderfully attached paintings and pictures. Thank you Ramesh ji.

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author avatar PSRemeshChandra
30th Jan 2013 (#)

When I saw these paintings and pictures for the first time, I thought they were waiting for the right literary creation. Wilfred Owen's Send Off suited them most. I am immensely thankful to those painters and photographers who were moved like Owen by the horrors of war, to create these masterpieces. I hope the painters, photographers and the poet would supplement each other. Thank you dear Md Rezaul Karim for caring to leave a comment.

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author avatar M G Singh
22nd Jan 2013 (#)

A wonderful post. You have put in a lot of effort. Congratulations

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author avatar PSRemeshChandra
30th Jan 2013 (#)

When I read your articles in Wikinut, I feel the same as you noted here. What can I say when a compliment comes my way from an accomplished writer like you? Thank you dear Madan G Singh.

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author avatar PSRemeshChandra
12th Aug 2018 (#)

I am deleting a few paragraphs from this post. If you read this post after July 2018, you will not be viewing the earlier original version. The full post can be read in my blog Sahyadri Books Trivandrum in Blogspot Dot Com. http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.com/

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