Insensibility

Insensibility

"Insensibility" is a poem written by Wilfred Owen during the First World War which explores the effect of warfare on soldiers, and the long and short term psychological effects which it has on them. The poem's title refers to the fact that the soldiers have lost the ability to feel due to the horrors which they faced on the Western Front during the First World War.

The Poem

: I:Happy are men who yet before they are killed:Can let their veins run cold.:Whom no compassion fleers:Or makes their feet:Sore on the alleys cobbled with their brothers.:The front line withers.:But they are troops who fade, not flowers,:For poets' tearful fooling::Men, gaps for filling::Losses, who might have fought:Longer; but no one bothers.

: II:And some cease feeling:Even themselves or for themselves.:Dullness best solves:The tease and doubt of shelling,:And Chance's strange arithmetic:Comes simpler than the reckoning of their shilling.:They keep no check on armies' decimation.

: III:Happy are these who lose imagination::They have enough to carry with ammunition.:Their spirit drags no pack.:Their old wounds, save with cold, can not more ache.:Having seen all things red,:Their eyes are rid:Of the hurt of the colour of blood for ever.:And terror's first constriction over,:Their hearts remain small-drawn.:Their senses in some scorching cautery of battle:Now long since ironed,:Can laugh among the dying, unconcerned.

: IV:Happy the soldier home, with not a notion:How somewhere, every dawn, some men attack,:And many sighs are drained.:Happy the lad whose mind was never trained::His days are worth forgetting more than not.:He sings along the march:Which we march taciturn, because of dusk,:The long, forlorn, relentless trend:From larger day to huger night.

: V:We wise, who with a thought besmirch:Blood over all our soul,:How should we see our task:But through his blunt and lashless eyes?:Alive, he is not vital overmuch;:Dying, not mortal overmuch;:Nor sad, nor proud,:Nor curious at all.:He cannot tell:Old men's placidity from his.

: VI:But cursed are dullards whom no cannon stuns,:That they should be as stones.:Wretched are they, and mean:With paucity that never was simplicity.:By choice they made themselves immune:To pity and whatever mourns in man:Before the last sea and the hapless stars;:Whatever mourns when many leave these shores;:Whatever shares:The eternal reciprocity of tears.


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  • Insensibility — In*sen si*bil i*ty, n. [Cf. F. insensibilit[ e].] [1913 Webster] 1. The state or quality of being insensible; lack of sensibility; torpor; unconsciousness; as, the insensibility produced by a fall, or by opiates. [1913 Webster] 2. Lack of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • insensibility — index ignorance, ingratitude, insentience Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • insensibility — (n.) late 14c., from L.L. insensibilitas, from L. insensibilis (see INSENSIBLE (Cf. insensible)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Insensibility — (Roget s Thesaurus) < N PARAG:Insensibility >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 insensibility insensibility insensibleness Sgm: N 1 moral insensibility moral insensibility Sgm: N 1 inertness inertness inertia Sgm: N 1 vis inertiae vis inertiae Sgm: N 1… …   English dictionary for students

  • insensibility — n. 1) to display, show insensibility 2) insensibility to * * * [ɪnˌsensə bɪlɪtɪ] show insensibility to display insensibility to …   Combinatory dictionary

  • insensibility — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) Lack of physical or emotional feeling Nouns 1. (physical numbness) insensibility, insensibleness; impassibility, impassibleness, impassivity; inappetency, apathy, phlegm, dullness, hebetude, supineness,… …   English dictionary for students

  • insensibility — insensible ► ADJECTIVE 1) without one s mental faculties; unconscious. 2) numb; without feeling. 3) (insensible of/to) unaware of; indifferent to. 4) too small or gradual to be perceived. DERIVATIVES insensibly adverb insensibility …   English terms dictionary

  • insensibility — noun see insensible …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • insensibility — See insensible. * * * …   Universalium

  • insensibility — noun The property of being insensible …   Wiktionary

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