" There is fumbling as they try to put on their helmets in time.
One soldier is still yelling and stumbling about as if he is on fire.
It was also inscribed on the wall of the chapel of the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in 1913.
In the first stanza Owen is speaking in first person, putting himself with his fellow soldiers as they labor through the sludge of the battlefield. They have lost the semblance of humanity and are reduced to ciphers.
Owen heightens the tension through the depiction of one unlucky soldier who could not complete this task in time - he ends up falling, "drowning" in gas.
This is seen through "the misty panes and the thick green light", and, as the imagery suggests, the poet sees this in his dreams.The rhyme scheme is traditional, and each stanza features two quatrains of rhymed iambic pentameter with several spondaic substitutions."Dulce" is a message of sorts to a poet and civilian propagandist, Jessie Pope, who had written several jingoistic and enthusiastic poems exhorting young men to join the war effort.The dying man is an offense to innocence and purity – his face like a "devil's sick of sin".Owen then says that, if you knew what the reality of war was like, you would not go about telling children they should enlist.By doing this he is trying to help stop other soldiers from experiencing what happened in a shortage of time.Owen opens his poem with a strong simile that compares the soldiers to old people that may be hunch-backed....Its vibrant imagery and searing tone make it an unforgettable excoriation of WWI, and it has found its way into both literature and history courses as a paragon of textual representation of the horrors of the battlefield.It was written in 1917 while Owen was at Craiglockhart, revised while he was at either Ripon or Scarborough in 1918, and published posthumously in 1920.They are wearied to the bone and desensitized to all but their march.In the second stanza the action occurs – poisonous gas forces the soldiers to put their helmets on.