#Blogtober18 Day 4 Ditty #nationalpoetryday

October 4, 2018Mandi Morrison
To coincide with National Poetry Day, the theme is dittys (because I like to have them in alphabetical order and poem was too far down the list!!)


by Wilfred Owen
Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knive
Wearied we keep awake because the night is silent…
Low, drooping flares confuse our memories of the salient…
Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous,
But nothing happens.
Watching, we hear the mad gusts tugging on the wire,
Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles.
Northward, incessantly, the flickering gunnery rumbles,
Far off, like a dull rumour of some other war.
What are we doing here?
The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow…
We only know war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag stormy.
Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army
Attacks once more in ranks on shivering ranks of grey,
But nothing happens.
Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence.
Less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow,
With sidelong flowing flakes that flock, pause, and renew,
We watch them wandering up and down the wind’s
But nothing happens.
Pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling for our faces –
We cringe in holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare,
Deep into grassier ditches. So we drowse, sun-dozed,
Littered with blossoms trickling where the blackbird fusses.
Is it that we are dying?
Slowly our ghosts drag home: glimpsing the sunk fires, glozed
With crusted dark-red jewels; crickets jingle there;
For hours the innocent mice rejoice: the house is theirs;
Shutters and doors, all closed: on us the doors are closed, –
We turn back to our dying.
Since we believe not otherwise can kind fires burn;
Nor ever suns smile true on child, or field, or fruit.
For God’s invincible spring our love is made afraid;
Therefore, not loath, we lie out here; therefore were born,
For love of God seems dying.
Tonight, His frost will fasten on this mud and us,
Shrivelling many hands, puckering foreheads crisp.
The burying party, picks and shovels in the shaking grasp,
Pause over half-known faces. All their eyes are ice,
But nothing happens.
I was really struggling with what to write for today, and there it was staring straight at me, my 15 year old daughter crouched over a bunch of study notes!
You see this poem above is not one I am particularly familiar with, but it has become quite important to Neva, because this is one of the 15 poems that they are expected to remember for their English gcse, but they will have no idea which one will be chosen for their exam, needless to say the children this year who are studying have got it pretty tough as well as remembering those they must know the entire book of ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’….
All I can say is i’m glad that I got my B grades in both English Literature and Language in 1992!
Now you’ve read my post, why not check out some other lovely bloggers who are currently taking part in Blogtober.
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Comments (14)

  • Tea and Cake for the Soul

    October 4, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Good luck to your daughter.

  • ClearlyBex

    October 4, 2018 at 6:36 am

    Cor blimey! she has to remember ALL those?! Madness! I didn’t do too well with my GCSEs, I had bad school grades, they dropped big time when I started secondary school. I had to fight the school to even let me sit GCSE English language, I walked out with a D which I was proud as punch with. Good luck to your daughter x

  • Shell Louise

    October 4, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Oh my goodness, I’m so pleased I don’t have to do GCSE English now as well! Good luck to her xx

  • Naomi Hassan

    October 4, 2018 at 8:15 am

    What a powerful poem. I did really well in English, however this part of the exams always was the most painful! #Blogtober18

  • MotherGeek

    October 4, 2018 at 9:17 am

    That poem is so poignant this year. 100 years ago, the Great War ended. Some of those brave soldiers got to return home. Most didn’t. I’m genuinely impressed this is in the syllabus. Wilfred Owen was diagnosed with Shell Shock after getting injured in 1917. My Grandad loved his work XX

  • GirlsGospel

    October 4, 2018 at 9:20 am

    All I could think about when reading this was the Sainsburys advert from Christmas 2014, where the troops on both sides of woman’s land put down their weapons and played football one Christmas. I remember my Grandad telling me the story of that when I was about 6, when I asked if we were the goodies or the baddies in the war. His response: None of the people killed were baddies. They were all just doing as they were told.

  • GirlsGospel

    October 4, 2018 at 9:20 am

    of course I meant NO MAN’S LAND – damn auto correct!

  • Kim Carberry

    October 4, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Good luck to your daughter. My teen did her English Literature GCSE a year early and had a lot of poems to remember. I am also quite an expert when it comes to An Inspector Calls and Macbeth. lol
    Fantastic poem x

  • Anne

    October 4, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Poignant poem. GCSE English sounds very tough, my daughter will be facing her’s in a couple of years.

  • Sonia

    October 4, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Oh wow I am so pleased that I passed my English back in the day because the things they have to do nowadays is just crazy! I wish your daughter all the luck in the world x

  • Kaz | Ickle Pickles Life and Travels

    October 4, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Oh what a powerful piece! I can’t remember what I had to study! Kaz

  • Maria [The Southerner Blogs]

    October 4, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Fantastic poem. This reminds me of revising for my own GCSEs and being in the same predicament as her – it really took the enjoyment out of the poems to be honest haha. Wishing her the best of luck!

  • Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    October 4, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Oh my gosh, that’s a lot to remember for GCSE level. I’m sure we didn’t have that much back in the day. That poem isn’t the easiest either. Sending lots of luck! #blogtober

  • Rachel Simons

    October 7, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    3 books and 15 poems to memorise, wow that is a lot of a child and that is not including the other subjects she has to learn. I’m glad I did mine years ago too

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