Suddenly night crushed out the day and hurled Her remnants over cloud-peaks, thunder-walled. Then fell a stillness such as harks appalled When far-gone dead return upon the world. There watched I for the Dead; but no ghost woke. Each one whom Life exiled I named and called. But they were all too far, or dumbed, or thralled; And never one fared back to me or spoke. Then peered the indefinite unshapen dawn With vacant gloaming, sad as half-lit minds, The weak-limned hour when sick men’s sighs are drained. And while I wondered on their being withdrawn, Gagged by the smothering wing which none unbinds, I dreaded even a heaven with doors so chained.
This poem is from The First World War Poetry Digital Archive, University of Oxford (www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit) ©. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 4, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“The Unreturning” is published in The Poems of Wilfred Owen (Chatto and Windus, 1933).
Date Published: 1933-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/unreturning