THE COLLECTED POEMS OF WILFRED OWEN edited by C. Day Lewis. 191 pages. New Directions. $4.75.
In 1914, a month before the guns of August began to thunder, a 21-year-old Englishman wrote some verse:
Leaves murmuring by myriads in the
shimmering trees. Lives wakening with wonder in the
Pyrenees. Birds cheerily chirping in the early
day Bards singing of summer, scything
thro' the hay.
It was charming, Keatsian and somehow like every other poem tossed off by a carefree youth in the flush of summer.
Then Wilfred Owen went to war, and in the muck and death of the trenches wrote a different sort of poem:
If you could hear,...