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Disabled by Wilfred Owen

Poetry Project
by

Vicky Flores

on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of Disabled by Wilfred Owen

5
1
By Daniel Bekai, Vicky Flores and Nicolas Palacio

Disabled by Wilfred Owen
He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.

About this time Town used to swing so gay
When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,
— In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,
All of them touch him like some queer disease.

There was an artist silly for his face,
For it was younger than his youth, last year.
Now he is old; his back will never brace;
He's lost his colour very far from here,
Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race,
And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg,
After the matches carried shoulder-high.
It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,
He thought he'd better join. He wonders why . . .
Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts.


That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,
Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts,
He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;
Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years.
Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears
Of Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hilts
For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.

Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul.
Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity they may dole.
To-night he noticed how the women's eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
And put him into bed? Why don't they come?
He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
"He" = The soldier is not named, he is both one of many and a person who has lost his identity after the war.

"Wheeled" = Doesn't say "wheel chair", wheeled implies that someone has to help him and that he is dependent on others.

"Dark" and "Grey" = negative colors that help create a depressive mood

"Legless" and "Sewn short at the elbow" = he lost both his arms and legs

"Saddening like an hymn" = a hymn is a religious song - it could be associated with funerals and death

"Mothered" = means "soothed" but it implies that he resembles a child and needs a mother-like figure to take care of him







About this time Town used to swing so gay
When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,
— In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,
All of them touch him like some queer disease
" Used to" = the past- something that is no longer, juxtaposes the present and the past from the first to second stanza.

"G" words = alliteration links the ideas together, creating a picture of him going out at night and flirting with girls.

"Dim" = romantic word, in contrast to the empty word "dark" in the first stanza

"Threw away his knees" = losing his legs, "threw" - not purposeful, careless.

"Never" = the finality of not being able to do something

"Like some queer disease" not like he had a disease but saying that he is the disease and it represents his sickness

Alliteration
Repetition
Physical and
Psychological damage.
"Threw away"Indicates a waste.
Alliteration to show beauty
There was an artist silly for his face,
For it was younger than his youth, last year.
Now he is old; his back will never brace;
He's lost his colour very far from here,
Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race,
And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg,
After the matches carried shoulder-high.
It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,
He thought he'd better join. He wonders why . . .
Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts.
Contrast
An artist silly for his face: indicates that he had a very nice face before the war.

Younger than his youth/now he is old: this shows that after the war, his face was mutilated and now seems older because of that.

His back will never brace: he has a broken or severed back that literally can't brace (that is why he is in a wheelchair). Also indicates that he can't brace/tolerate the psychological damage.

Lost his color... poured it down the shell holes: when the soldier was young, he had lots of color, but he poured it down the shell holes (explosion craters). All the trauma of injury and war had drained him of life (veins ran dry).

Lifetime lapsed: alliteration with "l." Shows how the war has shortened his life.

Liked a blood smear... shoulder high: Ironic because this shows that before the war, he was proud of injuries. -manliness/victory

Drunk a peg... god in kilts: the soldier is wondering why he joined in the first place. He was drunk when he made the decision, and it was someone else's idea. Indicates that he was a part of a Scottish army/ regiment.
2
cavity in the
ground made by
artillery shells
Used to be proud
of being injured
That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,
Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts,
He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;
Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years.
Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears
Of Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hilts
For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers
He did it to
please girls
Another hint that
he's in the Scottish army
To please his Meg: indication that he joined the army because of her. Most likely Meg is a girlfriend. Could be wife/mother/sister etc.

Giddy Jilts: a slang Scottish term for young women.

He didn't have to beg...his lie; aged nineteen years: he lied about his age. They still accepted him. This is probably means that the Scottish army needed more infantry/troops/


Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul.
Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity they may dole.
To-night he noticed how the women's eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
And put him into bed? Why don't they come?


Repetition
He wasn't the hero
he was hoping to be
But not as crowds cheer Goal: he is treated as a different kind of hero.

Inquired about his soul: the solomn man questions the soul of the soldier, wonders what it is like after the war.

A few sick years in Institutes: he doesn't have long to live, his last few years will most likely be in mental hospital.

Noticed how the women's eyes... strong men that were whole: women dont like him anymore. They want complete ment (whole men).

Why don't they come and put him into bed: he wants to die. His entire life has been wasted.
Loses his limbs
and his life

sports- masculinity of victory/glory
Did it when he was drunk... wonders why - regrets it
Fear is
capitalized
- important

Homecoming minister
Absolute word -
definitely how
he will spend his life

He is no longer
a potential lover
to the women

His identity and
his body is not
whole and has
lost a part of his
lifetime


street lamps
Scottish uniform in WWI
money that is owed and should have been paid earlier
handle of a weapon
not afraid at the beginning
spirit of
the body
Overall...
This poem contrasts the past and the present (before and after the war)
Women are used to show how his life has changed - he has lost his masculinity
The broken rhyme scheme represents how broken he is
The irony of war- he sacrificed his freedom for a countries freedom
In summary, the war changed this boy's life forever, he will no longer be able to do the things he used to, he has been wounded both physically and mentally and he questions why he even joined in the first place.
Full transcript