Procrastination during revision seems to occur more often than not so whilst revising history the words of Wilfred Owen sprang to mind. Dulce et decorum est is probably one of the most renown poems of the First World War and each word contradicts the positive yet naive perception of the poems title. This led me to think, how often do we find ourselves entering something where our perceptions of what it is are a far cry from the reality of the situation we have let ourselves in for. Very rarely have I encountered a situation where I have predicted the outcome, but instead witnessed something that has shaped me as a person. Each event of our lives is shaped by the unpredictability of what is to come, I for one wouldn’t want it any different. To go through life, taking each obstacle as it comes is far better than to expect and be let down when the outcome isn’t quite as you had hoped.
Taking this into account, Wilfred Owen couldn’t possibly have believed he would die in Flanders Fields, if he had surely he wouldn’t have enlisted himself in the army but by him being in that place something so marvelous as the literary works which were formulated deep in the trenches were created. In addition, he would never have met Siegfried who influenced him so greatly. Wilfred could never have predicted such an effect from one simple choice of leaving his family to enter the war. By doing so we not only gained an inspiration but he lost his life.
Choices. We all have to make them and sometimes what may seem like the end of the world to one has the counter effect for another. A lot of the time its hard to realise the effect we have on others from the choices we make but they are real and they are inevitable. Wilfred’s choice was selfless, patriotic and yet ended in the undesired but by doing so, millions of people have experienced life in the trenches, the horror, as if we were there ourselves. I for one am truly grateful for the opportunities that present themselves in my life and I struggle to understand the effect simple actions of my own can have on others. With years comes experience, knowledge and such realisation.
It’s difficult to not dwell on the ‘might have been’ and the ‘should have happened’. What would have happened if Wilfred had survived through the armistice. Would his poetry have been appreciated in the same light or do we take into account the loss of life and lament in each word to create such meaning and profanity? Taking this further, what would it have meant to him if World War One hadn’t even broken out, would he have still written and what about? There is no simple explanation to why lives establish as they do but even if we knew, it is uncontrollable.
Wilfred Owen is an inspirational writer and as historians have stated, one of the leading World War One poets to which i fondly agree. I hope the opportunities that present themselves in my life time will influence others, just as Wilfred’s, unknown to himself, have influenced thousands.