The Wilfred Owen Project

by Lichtenberg

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Mit Wilfred Owen (1893–1918) stirbt vier Tage vor dem Ende des ersten Weltkrieges ein junger Dichter – einer, wenn nicht sogar der wichtigste der War Poets, Kriegsdichter englischer Sprache. Seine Gedichte zählen zum kulturellen Gedächtnis Großbritanniens, sind aber in Deutschland weithin unbekannt.
2014 jährte sich zum einhundertsten Mal der Ausbruch des Ersten Weltkrieges, jenes Ereignis, das eine rasche Abfolge zivilisatorischer Katastrophen und martialischer Kriege einläutete und die Funken, die Freiheit hießen, in Europa für lange Zeit ersticken sollten. Wilfred Owen gibt in seinen Gedichten wie kein anderer Einblicke in die Erbärmlichkeit des Krieges, in seine Konsequenzen für das Individuum und für Gesellschaften.
Owens Gedichte sind keine, die in patriotischer Geste Feinde Feinden gegenüberstellen: Der Krieg macht alle, die in ihm leben müssen, zu Kameraden der Erbärmlichkeit. Und wo andere Dichter Trost im Nationalen suchten, Nationen als Sehnsuchtsorte imaginierten, ist das Erleben und das Sehnen Owens auf die Menschlichkeit ausgerichtet. Mit Schärfe schaut er auf die Konstruktionen, die Menschen zusammenhalten, auf die leeren Versprechungen von Christentum oder Nation. In der Erbärmlichkeit findet Owen Schönheit, ohne das Leiden zu ästhetisieren, Leiden, ohne Schönes darin zu stilisieren.

Anfang der 1960er Jahre schuf Benjamin Britten mit „War Requiem“
eine musikalische Adaption einiger Texte von Owen.

L i c h t e n b e r g stellt nun mit seinem „Wilfred Owen Project“ die Vertonung von sechs Gedichten des englischen Dichters in der für die Band typischen Tonsprache vor.


released February 15, 2017



all rights reserved


Lichtenberg SL, Germany

Die saarländische Band Lichtenberg wollte in gar keines der engen Schublädchen passen: Rock, Prog, Alternative....nichts wollte passen, so bastelten sich die fünf Freunde ihr eigenes Genre: New Kraut.
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Track Name: Zum Frühstück auf nach Paris
OT Wilhelm II
Track Name: 1914
War broke: and now the Winter of the world With perishing great darkness closes in. The foul tornado, centred at Berlin, Is over all the width of Europe whirled, Rending the sails of progress. Rent or furled Are all Art's ensigns. Verse wails. Now begin Famines of thought and feeling. Love's wine's thin. The grain of human Autumn rots, down-hurled.

For after Spring had bloomed in early Greece, And Summer blazed her glory out with Rome, An Autumn softly fell, a harvest home, A slow grand age, and rich with all increase. But now, for us, wild Winter, and the need Of sowings for new Spring, and blood for seed.
Track Name: Greather Love
Red lips are not so red

As the stained stones kissed by the English dead.

Kindness of wooed and wooer

Seems shame to their love pure.

O Love, your eyes lose lure

When I behold eyes blinded in my stead!

Your slender attitude

Trembles not exquisite like limbs knife-skewed,

Rolling and rolling there

Where God seems not to care;

Till the fierce love they bear

Cramps them in death’s extreme decrepitude.

Your voice sings not so soft,—

Though even as wind murmuring through raftered loft,—

Your dear voice is not dear,

Gentle, and evening clear,

As theirs whom none now hear,

Now earth has stopped their piteous mouths that coughed.

Heart, you were never hot

Nor large, nor full like hearts made great with shot;

And though your hand be pale,

Paler are all which trail

Your cross through flame and hail:

Weep, you may weep, for you may touch them not.
Track Name: Futility
Move him into the sun–
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it awoke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds–
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved,–still warm,–too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
–O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?
Track Name: Anthem for doomed youth
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle

Can patter out their hasty orisons.

No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,

Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,--

The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;

And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?

Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes

Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.

The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;

Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,

And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Track Name: The last laugh
'Oh! Jesus Christ! I'm hit,' he said; and died.

Whether he vainly cursed or prayed indeed,

The Bullets chirped-In vain, vain, vain!

Machine-guns chuckled,-Tut-tut! Tut-tut!

And the Big Gun guffawed.

Another sighed,-'O Mother, -Mother, - Dad!'

Then smiled at nothing, childlike, being dead.

And the lofty Shrapnel-cloud

Leisurely gestured,-Fool!

And the splinters spat, and tittered.

'My Love!' one moaned. Love-languid seemed his mood,

Till slowly lowered, his whole faced kissed the mud.

And the Bayonets' long teeth grinned;

Rabbles of Shells hooted and groaned;

And the Gas hissed.
Track Name: Dulce et decorum
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through


Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.
Track Name: The End
After the blast of lightning from the east,

The flourish of loud clouds, the Chariot throne,

After the drums of time have rolled and ceased

And from the bronze west long retreat is blown,

Shall Life renew these bodies? Of a truth

All death will he annul, all tears assuage?

Or fill these void veins full again with youth

And wash with an immortal water age?

When I do ask white Age, he saith not so, --

"My head hangs weighed with snow."

And when I hearken to the Earth she saith

My fiery heart sinks aching. It is death.

Mine ancient scars shall not be glorified

Nor my titanic tears the seas be dried."