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Asleep

 

Under his helmet, up against his pack,

After the many days of work and waking,

Sleep took him by the brow and laid him back.

And in the happy no-time of his sleeping,

Death took him by the heart. There was a quaking

Of the aborted life within him leaping ...

Then chest and sleepy arms once more fell slack.

And soon the slow, stray blood came creeping

From the intrusive lead, like ants on track.

 

*           *           *       

 

Whether his deeper sleep lie shaded by the shaking

Of great wings, and the thoughts that hung the stars,

High pillowed on calm pillows of Godís making

Above these clouds, these rains, these sleets of lead,

And these windsí scimitars;

óOr whether yet his thin and sodden head

Confuses more and more with the low mould,

His hair being one with the grey grass

And finished fields of autumns that are old ...

Who knows? Who hopes? Who troubles? Let is pass!

He sleeps. He sleeps less tremulous, less cold

Than we who must awake, and waking, say Alas!

 

Wilfred Owen


[artist]


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