“Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also”
– from Strange Meeting 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. Strange Meeting was published posthumously in 1919 in Edith Sitwell’s anthology ‘Wheels: an Anthology of Verse’, and in Siegfried Sassoon’s collection of Owen’s poems 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.
The Pity of War (Strange Meeting) – this engraving 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. This bleak, enigmatic poem describes the horrors of war and a soldier’s descent in to hell to meet the man, a soldier and enemy he kills during combat. A critique of war, in his poem Strange Meeting Owen conveys the inability for anyone but those involved to ever grasp the full truth of the experience of war and the pity of war. More engravings from this series can be viewed here.
I hope this work The Pity of War (Strange Meeting) in some way helps to mark the event, the war, Wilfred Owen and the tragic loss of life – Neil Bousfield 2018