Monday, 8 June 2015

Futility happens to be a poem written by Wilfred Owen, English poet and soldier who was born in March 18, 1893 at Oswestry, Shropshire England but died in November 4, 1918 at Sambre Oise Canal France. Owen was said to have started poetry at the age of 17, today, he's still remembered for his beautiful war poems like "Anthem Of Doomed Youth" "Dulce et Decorum est". This post is to look at the denotation and connotation of the poem Futility.

The poem of two stanzas revealed in the first stanza where the poem speaker request
someone referred to as "him" to be brought into the sun maybe it could wake him as it has done before "At home" (line 3) and "in France" (line 4), claiming the sun is the only option for his revival. In the second stanza of the poem, the poem speaker showed the sun had revived seeds, clays, among other things but wondered why it became very difficult to wake the man this time. The poem speaker became angry, blamed the sun and gave the sun an abusive name while questioning it by saying "_O what made fatuous sunbeams toil/ To break earth's sleep at all?"

The poem has the theme of life's futility. It is said that the poem was talking about world war 1 where men dead in battle were spread under the sun like grains. The poem speaker saw futility in the effort of those in battle because their fighting led them to nothing but shameful sudden death. The poem also saw futility in the effort of the sun that revived at some points but lost its power of revival at a point to death.

The poem also has the theme of death's supremacy over everything. The poem speaker showed the power of the sun was limited to a certain period of season when he/she said "Until this morning and this snow" (line 5) and also revealed that the sun would have equaled death if it had not foolishly toil "To break earth's sleep at all". It must also be noted that the sun was used to symbolize daybreak in line 13 and 14.

Another theme of note in the poem is the impact of the sun on human and living things. According to the poem speaker the sun has the power to wake things not excluding the dead victim but one might be tempted to ask how the sun does its revival? The sun is used as a metonymy in the poem to refer to the morningtime. In the morning, the sun wakes alongside humans and even plants but with the power of hyperbole the poet turned the sun to an entity with the ability to wake or revive.

Move him into the sun_
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of field 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?
© Wilfred Owen (18-03-1893 04-11-1918)


Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)


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