“Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind”
– from Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Owen wrote most of his poems in the year before his death between August 1917 and September 1918, with only five poems published in his lifetime. Dulce et Decorum Est was written in 1917 while Owen was at Craiglockhart, Edinburgh, and published posthumously in 1920. Owen was killed by machine gun fire while leading his men across the Sambre-Oise canal on 4th November 1918, one week before the signing of the Armistice on the 11th November 1918.
Before My Helpless Sight (Dulce et Decorum Est) forms part of a body of work commissioned by the Folio Society to accompany a new publication of Wilfred Owen’s poetry published 2018 to mark the centenary of Owen’s death and Armistice Day. Undoubtedly one of Owen’s most memorable poems, it has been described as a paragon of literary representation of the horrors of the battlefield of WW1. More engravings from this series can be viewed here.
I hope this work Before My Helpless Sight (Dulce et Decorum Est) in some way helps to mark the event, the war, Wilfred Owen and the tragic loss of life – Neil Bousfield 2018