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90135: 'The time was aeon'

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posted on 2024-04-23, 10:08 authored by First World War Poetry Digital Archive Project Team

The time was aeon; and the place all earth.
The spectacle I saw was not a dream,
But true resumption of experienced things.
The scene meseemed one vast deformity,
Made lovely by pervasion of a spirit.
For as the morning sunshine sanctifies
Even the ordure of a sordid town,
So all this wreck was glamoured by some charm
A mystery of music. For, a Presence there
Created low, rich music, endlessly.
The Place was called the World, and lo! the name
Of him, the unapparent spirit, was
An evil Angel's; and I learnt the name
Of that strange, regnant Presence as the Flesh.
It bore the naked likeness of a boy
Flawlessly moulded, fine exceedingly,
Beautiful unsurpassably---so much
More portraiture were fond futility
For even thought is not long possible,
Becoming too soon passion: and meseemed
His outline changed, from beauty unto beauty,
As change the contours of slim, sleeping clouds.
His skin, too, glowed, pale scarlet like the clouds
Lit from the eastern underworld; which thing
Bewondered me the more. But I remember
The statue of his body standing so
Against the huge disorder of the place
Resembled a strong music; and it triumphed
Even as the trend of one clear perfect air
Across confusion of a thousand chords.
Then watched I how there ran towards that way
A multitude of railers, hot with hate,
And maddened by the voice of a small Jew
Who cried with a loud voice, saying 'Away!
Away with him!' and 'Crucify him! Him,
With the affections and the lusts thereof.'

History

Creator

Owen, Wilfred (1893-1918)

Date

1912 1913

Source

The Complete Poems and Fragments of Wilfred Owen edited by Jon Stallworthy first published by Chatto & Windus, 1983. (#62, CPF vol. 1, p. 73, vol. 2, 216) BL 1. 123 and 124

Type

Poem

Rights

The Estate of Wilfred Owen. The Complete Poems and Fragments of Wilfred Owen edited by Jon Stallworthy first published by Chatto & Windus, 1983. Preliminaries, introductory, editorial matter, manuscripts and fragments omitted.

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    The Wilfred Owen Collection

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