The end of the poem is more sentimental; while no funeral takes place on the battlefield, all individuals have something resembling a funeral, even if it takes the form only of their loved ones weeping.
The poem's overall tone indicates that Owen resents promoters of war who do not consider the full magnitude of war and pities the soldiers who know not what may happen to them.
Sassoon was older and more cynical, and the meeting was a significant turning point for Owen.
The poem is structured as a Petrarchan sonnet with a Shakespearean rhyme scheme and is an elegy or lament for the dead.
The pale faces of the girls will be what cover their coffins, patient minds will act as flowers, and the "slow dusk" will be the drawing of the shades.
Analysis This searing poem is one of Owen's most critically acclaimed.
It was written in the fall of 1917 and published posthumously in 1920.
It may be a response to the anonymous preface from (1916), which proclaims that boys and girls should know about the poetry of their time, which has many different themes that "mingle and interpenetrate throughout, to the music of Pan's flute, and of Love's viol, and the bugle-call of Endeavor, and the passing-bells of death." The poem owes its more mature imagery and message to Owen's introduction to another WWI poet, Siegfried Sassoon, while he was convalescing in Edinburgh's Craiglockhart Hospital in August 1917.
Summary The speaker says there are no bells for those who die "like cattle" – all they get is the "monstrous anger of the guns".
They have only the ragged sounds of the rifle as their prayers.