Wilfred Owen is a war poet. His poems express the pity and anger he felt towards war. His poem, "Strange Meeting" is also a record of war. According to George Sampson, "Strange Meeting is the most memorable poem of the period of the first world war." "My subject is war", Owen wrote, "and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity." Indeed, Owen discusses war as a tragic and pitiful experience. His approach is realistic and he stresses the waste and devastation caused by war.
In Strange Meeting, the narrator, after his death, meets one of the enemy soldiers he had killed in the war, in the hell or in the underworld. The miserable experiences in the war helps him to understand the naked truth that the enemy in war is one-self. The soldiers are the victims of the war. This knowledge makes, the narrator and the stranger he met, friends.
The opening line is a reflection of the idea that death is but an escape for a soldier from his miserable life. The escape is to the underworld, described as a long tunnel. The tunnel is full of sleepers. While probing along the sleepers, suddenly, one of them springs up. He looks at the poet in sympathy. For, it is the German soldier, whom the poet has killed on the previous day. The poet wonders, why there are marks of sorrow on the face of the soldier.
According to the apparition, his distress is due to the loss of chance to warn the world about the truth of war. The consequence of each war is deterioration. It will tuck a nation from progress. The speaker wishes to rush to the battle field and to wash the clogged wheels of the chariot with the pure water of brother hood.
However, the speaker realises that human beings will only continue the course. They will either be satisfied and adjusted with the ruins made by the war; or they may be discontented. If discontented, they will turn into greater violences. The speaker had courage, knowledge, wisdom and ability, yet could not stop the course. Wilfred Owen speaks with a prophetic vision, when he say, there is no escape for men from modern war. The speaker, after his death wants to reveal this truth to the human world. For that, he wish to pour his spirit. He wants to avoid wounds and cess of war. Owen here represents himself as a pacifist.
To conclude, through the poem, Owen gives stress to the need for peace. Each nation fails to realize the fact that they are marching backwards while indulging in war. The real service of an individual to his nation will be his retreat from the battle. The soldiers are also warned that they are their own enemies so long as they fight.