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


The Unreturning

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And while I wondered on their being withdrawn,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.

Credit


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).

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: 1933-01-01

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