Spring Offensive by Wilfred Owen

Spring Offensive by Wilfred Owen:- Going to learn about poets use addiction their word choice and we're going to learn about how a poet creates suspense and the way they structure a poem we'll lay it out and we learn about structure and we're also going to learn about rhetorical questions and how why they are effective and finally we're gonna learn about sense of horror.

This is the last poem Spring Offensive by Wilfred Owen ever wrote he finished it just before he died before he was shot in battle and he probably knew it was going to be the last poem he ever wrote so that is something important.

"Halted against the shade of a last hill,
They fed, and, lying easy, were at ease
And, finding comfortable chests and knees
Carelessly slept. 
                               But many there stood still
To face the stark, blank sky beyond the ridge,
Knowing their feet had come to the end of the world."

Spring Offensive by Wilfred Owen


 So here I've got a picture which illustrates a group of men in a similar position coming to the edge of a ridge about to go to the end of the world, in other words, enter the battle and look at the blank sky in the picture which is a quote in the poem as well. They carelessly slept so this indicates these soldiers are very tired so they've been up all night working sorting out for the offensive.

 "Marvelling they stood, and watched the long grass swirled
By the May breeze, murmurous with wasp and midge,
For though the summer oozed into their veins
Like the injected drug for their bones’ pains,
Sharp on their souls hung the imminent line of grass,
Fearfully flashed the sky’s mysterious glass."

 So they are amazed by the beautiful May Day and the imagery and suggests this the summer used into their veins like an injected drug. So it's like opium it's like heroin going into them they feel the beauty of nature here is the recurrent theme in Owens poetry the beauty of nature but the horror of man-made things and then suddenly they have an imminent line of grass. This imminent means it's about to happen something is going to happen in other words a battle is going to happen and faithfully flash the skies mysterious glass so we get a sense of perhaps a flashing of glasses refracted lead glasses across the battlefield but also the glass of the sky and the sky looks glossy.

 Hour after hour they ponder the warm field—
And the far valley behind, where the buttercups
Had blessed with gold their slow boots coming up,
Where even the little brambles would not yield,
But clutched and clung to them like sorrowing hands;
They breathe like trees unstirred.

Spring Offensive by Wilfred Owen


 Again more beautiful pastoral imagery. Pastoral images to do with the countryside in the picture here is a picture of buttercups kind of well summarizing the imagery that's actually in the poem. Even the brambles they cling to them like soaring hands so that nature is like this kind of sorrowful force going to happen to these soldiers. They breathe like trees understood they're very very still like trees but they're grieving they're alive.

 Till like a cold gust thrilled the little word
At which each body and its soul begird
And tighten them for battle. No alarms
Of bugles, no high flags, no clamorous haste—
Only a lift and flare of eyes that faced
The sun, like a friend with whom their love is done.
O larger shone that smile against the sun,—
Mightier than his whose bounty these have spurned.

 So there's no bugle into battle and this is no high flags and a clamorous house that clamorous shouting haste speed so there's no kind of great speed. There's just the flicker of eyes the flare of eyes that they know that their love is done. In other words, they're going to their deaths a larger shun that smile against the Sun so the smile of the soldiers saying goodbye to each other is a huge goodbye these are soldiers great friends they've formed a real bond mightier than whose bounties these have spurned.

 So, soon they topped the hill and raced together
Over an open stretch of herb and heather
Exposed. And instantly the whole sky burned
With fury against them; and soft sudden cups
Opened in thousands of their blood, and the green slopes
Chasmed and steepened sheer to infinite space.

Spring Offensive


 So suddenly from this beautiful piece of nature, we have this fury and sudden cuts opened in thousands of their blood. So sudden cuts in the ground or sudden kind of holes in the ground opened up because they've been bombed they were being fired at and their blood fill these cups and the green slopes chasms turned into caves and steep and shared infinite space became this kind of infinite everlasting space of war. And I think this picture from Verdun from the first world war kind of captures that to a degree we get a sense of suddenly this awful battleground where baton basically no one is spared.

 Of them who running on that last high place
Leapt to swift unseen bullets, or went up
On the hot blast and fury of hell’s upsurge,
Or plunged and fell away past this world’s verge,
Some say God caught them even before they fell.



 So, in other words, this long sentence really shows that they were dead before they even fell to the ground and the hot blast and fury of Hell's upsurge an upsurge is a great going up or a great kind of welling up of something and the hot blast. We get a kind of sense of the heat and the fury of this thing it's like hell and I've got a picture of her on immersing Bosh here to kind of give a sense at work where the devil is taking souls to hell give a sense of the kind of religious imagery that's here remember Owen was a came from a religious background. He lost his faith but he uses the imagery from religion to make creative sense of horror here.

 But what say such as from existence’ brink
Ventured but drave too swift to sink.
The few who rushed in the body to enter hell,
And there out-fiending all its fiends and flames
With superhuman inhumanities,
Long-famous glories, immemorial shames—
And crawling slowly back, have by degrees
Regained cool peaceful air in wonder—
Why speak they not of comrades that went under?

Spring Offensive by Wilfred Owen



 Another very long complex sentence but basically saying that there are a few who actually out fiend all its fins out fiend all the hell of a battle and see the superhuman in humanity's terrible things have happened. And they cool slowly back and they're alive in other words so there are a few that actually survive and why do they not speak of Konrad's that went under so why-why do they not speak of the people that died. The poem closes with this rhetorical question why is it that people have been in battle never really talked about it. Now I've deliberately put in a terrible picture here of a child um injured in an Iraqi bombing raid to give you a sense of the horror of war and to give you a sense of why perhaps these soldiers didn't speak of anything and it is a very upsetting picture but I want you to feel some sort of empathy for Owen here this is a real poem. Notice the closing rhyme wonder and under there gazing in wonder are there alive you know perhaps it is a wonder that this little boy here is alive and why not speak they have those that went under you know why do why do these people survivors not talk about it because it is too terrible to think about. And so the poem closes with this we don't know that actually, this is the real ending of it Owen was shot before we kind of got a sense of whether this was the ending this is a long complicated poem but if you get the basic idea of it that it's about a Spring Offensive an attack and that's happening in spring.

It starts with this beautiful pastoral imagery ends with a picture of hell and ends with a common theme in Owens poetry. The people who've been in war don't actually like to speak of it and in fact these poems are sort of the rare examples of someone really looking in depth of the horror of war. 
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