First World War Poetry Digital Archive

'Has your soul sipped . . .’

Has your soul sipped Of the sweetness of all sweets? Has it well supped But yet hungers and sweats? I have been witness Of a strange sweetness, All fancy surpassing Past all supposing. Passing the rays Of the rubies of morning, Or the soft rise Of the moon; or the meaning Known to the rose Of her mystery and mourning. Sweeter than nocturnes Of the wild nightingale Or than love's nectar After life's gall. Sweeter than odours Of living leaves, Sweeter than ardours Of dying loves. Sweeter than death And dreams hereafter To one in dearth Of life and its laughter. Or the proud wound The victor wears Or the last end Of all wars. Or the sweet murder After long guard Unto the martyr Smiling at God; To me was that smile, Faint as a wan, worn myth, Faint and exceeding small, On a boy's murdered mouth. Though from his throat The life-tide leaps There was no threat On his lips. But with the bitter blood And the death-smell All his life's sweetness bled Into a smile.


“'Has your soul sipped . . .’ ,” 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 20, 2024,

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