by Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918)
Translation © by Pierre Mathé

Move him into the sun
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
Move him into the sun -
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields [unsown]1.
Always it woke 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 seed -
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]2 sleep at all?

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
First published in Nation, 1918
1 in some editions, "half-sown"
2 Rands: "the earth's"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

The text above (or a part of it) is used in the following settings:

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Futilité", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 94

Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Mets-le au soleil,
Son toucher l'a un jour gentiment éveillé,
À la maison, chuchotement de champs à demi semés.
Il le réveillait toujours, même en France,
Jusqu'à ce matin et cette neige.
Si une chose pouvait maintenant le réveiller,
Cette espèce de vieux soleil le saurait.

Pense à la façon dont il réveille la graine –
Réveilla un jour les argiles d'une étoile froide.
Les membres si tendrement faits, les flancs
Bien innervés – encore chauds – sont-ils trop durs à remuer ?
Fut-ce pour cela que l'argile grandit ?
– Ô pourquoi le niais labeur des rayons de soleil
A-t-il complètement brisé le sommeil de la terre ?


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2015 by Pierre Mathé, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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This text was added to the website: 2015-03-21
Line count: 14
Word count: 109