The best inspirations for poetry, or any art, really, as with the case of Owen’s ‘1914,’ come from anything that is real and important in the life of the writer.
Wilfred Owen wrote ‘A Terre’ about the aftermath of the war. In it, a soldier reminisces about his days before the war – the days when he had full functionality of his limbs, and could do whatever he wanted – to an unknown listener, most likely a young and influential boy.
As the First World War raged on to its completion, Wilfred Owen, the poem, spent the final days of the war incarcerated in Craiglockhart, suffering from an acute case of shellshock and trying to write through the trauma using poetry.
Wilfred Owen immortalized mustard gas in his indictment against warfare, ‘Dulce et Decorum Est.’ Written in 1917 while at Craiglockart, and published posthumously in 1920, ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ details what is, perhaps, the most memorable written account of a mustard gas attack.
Despite Wilfred Owen’s prodigious writing, only five poems were ever published in his lifetime – probably because of his strong anti-war sentiment, which would not have been in line with British policy at the time, particularly in their attempt to gather rather more and more people to sign up for the war.