Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Chances

I mind as ’ow the night afore that show
Us five got talking,—we was in the know,
“Over the top to-morrer; boys, we’re for it,
First wave we are, first ruddy wave; that’s tore it.”
“Ah well,” says Jimmy,—an’ ’e’s seen some scrappin’—
“There ain’t more nor five things as can ’appen;
Ye get knocked out; else wounded—bad or cushy;
Scuppered; or nowt except yer feeling mushy.”

One of us got the knock-out, blown to chops.
T’other was hurt, like, losin’ both ’is props.
An’ one, to use the word of ’ypocrites,
‘Ad the misfortoon to be took by Fritz.
Now me, I wasn’t scratched, praise God Almighty
(Though next time please I’ll thank ’im for a blighty),
But poor young Jim, ’e’s livin’ an’ ’e’s not;
’E reckoned ’e’d five chances, an’ ’e’s ’ad;
’E’s wounded, killed, and pris’ner, all the lot—
The ruddy lot all rolled in one. Jim’s mad. 

Credit


This poem is in the public domain.

Author


Wilfred Owen

One of the most admired poets of World War I, Wilfred Edward Salter Owen is best known for his poems "Anthem for Doomed Youth" and "Dulce et Decorum Est." He was killed in France on November 4, 1918.

Date Published: 2018-11-02

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/chances