Fragment: A Farewell
I saw his round mouth's crimson deepen as it fell,
Like a Sun, in his last deep hour;
Watched the magnificent recession of farewell,
Clouding, half gleam, half glower,
And a last splendour burn the heavens of his cheek.
And in his eyes
The cold stars lighting, very old and bleak,
In different skies.
- How do you imagine it would be like to see someone die? What would you see? What would you feel? How would you describe what you experienced to another person?
- What imagery in the poem strikes you as being appropriately descriptive of the moments of death?
- What is meant by the title of the poem, “Fragment: A Farewell?”
The Last Laugh
'Oh! Jesus Christ! I'm hit,' he said; and died.
Whether he vainly cursed or prayed indeed,
The Bullets chirped-In vain, vain, vain!
Machine-guns chuckled,-Tut-tut! Tut-tut!
And the Big Gun guffawed.
Another sighed,-'O Mother, - Mother, - Dad!'
Then smiled at nothing, childlike, being dead.
And the lofty Shrapnel-cloud
And the splinters spat, and tittered.
'My Love!' one moaned. Love-languid seemed his mood,
Till slowly lowered, his whole face kissed the mud.
And the Bayonets' long teeth grinned;
Rabbles of Shells hooted and groaned;
And the Gas hissed.
Questions for Reflection: “The Last Laugh”
- How has Owen used personification in “The Last Laugh?”
- What are the feelings behind the last words of the soldiers in “The Last Laugh?”
- Who/What has “The Last Laugh” in the poem?
- Looking through the words of “The Last Laugh” how would you speak of the death of these three soldiers? What feelings would you experience?