The Parable of the Old Man and the Young Man

Abraham and Isaac, Otto DixI posted this same poem last year, as I did with London. (I also posted London for a second time this year.) Last year, however I seemed to ignore, well, I did ignore, the time in which this poem was written. I looked at it from a strictly religious, story telling,  perspective in stead of examining just what Owen is saying about the atrocities of war, specifically The Great War, The War to End All Wars, World War I.

This year as I’ve been going through the Joan Baez, Peter Schickele album, Baptism I cannot avoid looking at The Great War as it truly changed everything.

The Parable Of The Old Man And The Young Man
Wilfred Owen

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,Otto Dix, Verwundeter-Herbst 1916, Bapaume
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, thy son.
Behold! Caught in a thicket by its horns,
A Ram. Offer the Ram of Pride instead.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.


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