Please explain the poem, especially the second stanza, line by line and word by word. Simplify it as much as you can using simple words.  1- Down some profound dull tunnel, long since...

Please explain the poem, especially the second stanza, line by line and word by word. Simplify it as much as you can using simple words.

 

1- Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which titanic wars had groined.

2- Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands, as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall,-
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.

3- With a thousand pains that vision's face was grained;
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
"Strange friend," I said, "here is no cause to mourn."
"None," said that other, "save the undone years,
................
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now . . ."

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Wilfred Owen was one of the most important poets to write about World War I.  "Strange Meeting," like many of his poems, expresses a very negative attitude about the horrors and futility of war.

The narrator describes his descent into a "profound dull tunnel."  He seems to be describing the journey of his soul into Hell after death.

He finds there many encumbered (burdened) sleepers, meaning dead people.  These people are "too fast" in thought or death to be stirred from their "sleep."  "Fast" in this sentence means tightly or strongly, as in the expression "fast asleep," or as in the word "fasten."

One man, however, jumps and stares at the narrator as if he recognizes him.  This man lifts distressed hands as if he wants to bless the narrator.

At the end of the poem, the narrator comes to realize a terrible truth: this man who befriends him in Hell is the same man that he previously killed on the battlefield.

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