Welcome back to my series on adapting poetry, in my last post I adapted Edward Lear’s ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. But today, I am turning my attention towards a new work of art and seeing how I can use the same parameters set by a different classic author to tell a new story, relevant to a new era.

Wilfred Owen’s masterpiece, ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’, was written over 100 years ago now, and although a lot has changed and we are not heading for world war, our society is still facing its fair share of trials and tribulations as we tackle a global problem together. That is what I wanted to explore in this piece.


To refresh you on my process, here is my method of adapting poems, which you can also use if you are interested in adapting poems yourself:

  1. Begin with a well-known poem
  2. Read several times to interpret the meaning and understand the form (stanza and line length, rhyme scheme)
  3. Find the language to fit your ideas – initially, I chose poems that had a similar meaning to what I wanted to achieve as I found this easier.
  4. If you want to challenge yourself, I sometimes count syllables to retain the full rhythm.

Poetry Locked Down: Anthem for Doomed Youth


Photo by Nadine Redlich on Unsplash

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

They talk herd immunity but no funeral guests,

Daily, there is political prattle,

Daily, people are laid to rest.

Stay Alert repeated every day,

New regulations come thick and fast,

Stay, spray, two metres away,

It is clarity that has been masked.


What is the right way to handle the situation?

Eye-test, tennis tour, crashed cars,

Powerful figures of the nations,

Infecting the public with farce.

People are angry and anxiety-cosumed,

But they are determined, and they will not be doomed.


I hope you enjoyed this poem and if you feel inspired to write one yourself then feel free to reach out to me at Dragonfly Paint to talk about all things creative.