The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

Since posting “The Next War,” I haven’t been able to get Wilfred Owen’s “The Parable of the Old Man and the Young” out of my head. It’s actually one of my favorite poems, and very similar in tone, delivery, and message to “The Next War,” which makes sense considering the two poets’ shared experiences with World War I. It’s very sad how nonchalantly the lives of the young are often thrown away by the old, the lives of the poor discarded by the rich, the lives of the underprivileged disregarded by the privileged.

The Parable of the Old Man and the Young
by Wilfred Owen

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
and builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

 

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4 thoughts on “The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

  1. Reading over poetry from the first and second world war has never been as important as it is today. With conflict looming, almost undeniably, it”s wise for us to look back on these young men who suffered so much and remember to try our hardest to prevent anything like it happening again.

    “But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
    And half the seed of Europe, one by one.”

    Chilling.

    Liked by 1 person

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