First World War Poetry Digital Archive

‘Stunned by their life’s explosion . . .’

I am the ghost of Shadwell Stair. Along the wharves by the water-house, And through the cavernous slaughter-house, I am the shadow that walks there. Yet I have flesh both firm and cool, And eyes tumultuous as the gems Of moons and lamps in the full Thames When dusk sails wavering down the Pool. Shuddering, a purple street-arc burns Where I watch always. From the banks Dolorously the shipping clanks. And after me a strange tide turns. I walk till the stars of London wane, And dawn creeps up the Shadwell Stair. But when the crowing sirens blare, I with another ghost am lain.


“‘Stunned by their life’s explosion . . .’,” 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 May 24, 2024,

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