First World War Poetry Digital Archive

The Fates

THE FATES by WILFRED OWEN They watch me, those informers to the Fates Called Fortune, Chance, Necessity, and Death; Time, in disguise as one who serves and waits, Eternity as girls of fragrant breath. I know them. Men and Boys are in their pay, And those I hold my trustiest friends may prove Agents of Theirs to take me if I stray From fatal ordinance. If I move, they move--- Escape? There is one unwatched way; your eyes, O Beauty! Keep me good that secret gate! And when the cordon tightens of the spies Let the close iris of your eyes grow great. So I'll evade the vice and rack of age And miss the march of lifetime, stage by stage.


“The Fates,” by Owen, Wilfred (1893-1918). The Estate of Wilfred Owen. The Complete Poems and Fragments of Wilfred Owen edited by Jon Stallworthy first published by Chatto & Windus, 1983. Preliminaries, introductory, editorial matter, manuscripts and fragments omitted. via First World War Poetry Digital Archive, accessed February 21, 2019,

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