Asleep

Wilfred Owen 1893 (Oswestry) – 1918 (Sambre–Oise Canal)



Under his helmet, up against his pack,
After so many days of work and waking,
Sleep took him by the brow and laid him back.

There, in the happy no-time of his sleeping,
Death took him by the heart. There heaved 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 intruding 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 God's making,
Above these clouds, these rains, these sleets of lead,
And these winds' scimitars,
-Or whether yet his thin and sodden head
Confuses more and more with the low mould,
His hair being one with the grey grass
Of finished fields, and wire-scrags rusty-old,
Who knows? Who hopes? Who troubles? Let it pass!
He sleeps. He sleeps less tremulous, less cold,
Than we who wake, and waking say Alas!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on April 02, 2023

51 sec read
217

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABA BBBA BA BCBDCDEFEFEF
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 928
Words 171
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 3, 4, 2, 12

Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. more…

All Wilfred Owen poems | Wilfred Owen Books

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    "Asleep" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 27 Feb. 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/38496/asleep>.

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