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How would you scan Wilfred Owen's poem Futility ? I am confused as to where the...

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sue-mc | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 23, 2010 at 6:13 AM via web

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How would you scan Wilfred Owen's poem Futility ? I am confused as to where the stresses are.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 23, 2010 at 9:24 AM (Answer #1)

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Here is the poem with the stresses in bold.

Move him into the sun -
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything* might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds -
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved, - still warm, - too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?

* Owen's speaker would have to slur "anything" to make it one stressed syllable.

The poem is a mix of meter: it starts out in trochee and moves to iambic to hit the rhymes at the end.

The beginning of lines 1, 2, and 4 are trochee (stressed, unstressed) in both stanzas

Lines 5, 6, and 7 in the first stanza are iambic (unstressed, stressed)

Line 3 ("At home, whispering") in the first stanza and line 6 ("what made fatuous") in the second stanza are dactyl (unstressed, stressed, stressed).

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