Dear Wilfred Owen,
As an admirer of all your literature, it is with great enthusiasm that I write this letter informing you that your sound ideas are still profoundly needed in today’s society.
The horror of war is perhaps one theme that is central and common across all of your literature and is still very much creating a sense of realism in today’s world. Although Australia is comforted by not being too involved in the current wars around the world, through the use of social media we are still exposed to the terrible instances of war in the Middle East. Your poetry is quite literal and confronting exposing the realities of war, combining the physical and psychological impacts that soldiers and civilians have to endure. I appreciate the irony you use in expressing the double perspective on war. I perceived this in your last stanza of your so famous poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est, “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est / Pro patria mori” Your use of Latin dialogue is a historical reference to a motto so many followed and still follow today. I agree with you entirely and although I do understand a person’s passion to be nationalistic, I still struggle to comprehend the idea of dying – and this particular path to death might I add, to be sweet… I appreciate your shift from romantic representations of war death to the true horrors of death so many have experienced. Again, your vision of realism benefits society in understanding that war is not the answer.
Another vision which I believe you wished to explore and express to your readers was the loss of innocence. Perhaps considered a loss of childhood or a fast track to a terrible adulthood.. your poems show society that circumstances like this do not vanish once they seem to be over. Boys were no longer happy, unable to unsee the terror war brought and their mind forever captured on the front line. Society needs to understand this, and even more so, influential figures that run our world in the process of their warfare decisions. How does a country declare a state of war on another knowing full well the endless torture it brings contrasted with little or no benefit? Your perspective in the depiction of war should be enough to make society realise war is never the solution to any dispute.
“There never was a good war or a bad peace” – Benjamin Franklin.