Exposure – Wilfred Owen


Iced east winds that knife us
pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling for our faces.
Poignant misery of dawn
winds nonchalance
this frost will fasten on this mud and us, shriveling many hands,
Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army

The whole way through the poem weather and nature is portrayed as the major enemy the soldiers are facing. Even though they are fighting in horrific battles the deadliest enemy they face is actually exposure to the elements.  The cold is portrayed to have killed more people than the battles themselves. The harsh conditions and environment are actually what kills the most soldiers not that battles that they fight.  “bullets streak the silence. Less deadly that the air” This line is used by the author to prove his point that the biggest threat to the soldiers is the cold, more so than even the bullets being shot at them. “poignant misery of dawn” This quote that shows that as dawn arrives it bring a certain misery to the soldiers.

The piece of personification “dawn massing in the east her melancholy army” is used by the author to show that dawn controls the deadly weather that is killing the soldiers.  “her melancholy army” is the storm clouds that are more deadly than the actually enemy the soldiers are facing. “dawn massing” was used by the author to show that the weather is out of human control. The deadliest enemy the soldiers face can’t be controlled or changed by anyone.

The simile “like a dull rumor of some other war” was used  by the author to show that the most important battle is between the soldiers and the elements and that the actual war they were fighting is irrelevant in comparison. The actual war is just a “dull rumor” something the soldiers aren’t even concerned about.


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