In both poems, the poets explore the theme of mercy. In Exposure, Owen does this by describing the wind as “merciless”. This example of personification helps the reader understand the impact the wind had on the soldiers; the weather is an uncompassionate enemy, attacking the men.
Similarly, Bayonet Charge presents a merciless enemy. However, in this poem, it is destiny and time itself that the soldier feels attacked by: “in what cold clockwork of the stars and nations.” Here, time is “cold”, implying it is also merciless and lacking in feeling. The metaphor effectively presents this idea, and combined with it being a rhetorical question, perhaps makes it more powerful than the personification in Exposure. Additionally, the isolation of the soldier as he questions his existence connects with the rhetorical questions in Exposure – “what are we doing here” – emphasising the sense of isolation and misery in both poems.