Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mr. Owen

Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
I would have poured my spirit without stint
But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.

-Wilfred Owen
(excerpt from "Strange Meeting")

I worked in the library all four years of college. It was the first job I had ever had, and even though I was young and probably not the most ideal employee, it remains my favorite job still. I was in college just as the Internet was coming into being, so there was still a nice piece of time when people still did actual research with books. When out and about in town, I got used to people looking at me and cocking their head sideways a bit, wondering where they knew me from. "Oh, you're the Library Girl" they would say. It always made me smile.

When I was shelving books, I always had the habit of reading the first and the last sentence of a book. Sometimes, they were funny as hell. Sometimes dull, too. It was in one of the books I put away that I first came across Wilfred Owen. There is something in his talk of war that speaks to me.

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