Tuesday, November 11, 2008

DULCE ET DECORUM EST.

Lest we Forget
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring 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.

Wilfred Owen.

UPDATE. An audio recording of the memories of some soldiers who served in the First World War, recorded 30 years ago, has been posted at http://www.glasgowstories.com/
It has also been posted on YouTube. A direct link is here.

4 Comments:

Blogger Cheer34 said...

sigh...I could not tell that lie

10:43 AM  
Blogger Identity Crisis said...

Wilfred Owen has a way with words.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Julia Smith said...

Great poem, Sans - I posted the same one last year. The incredible thing is, no matter how many war movies show the true horror, people still serve. And I'm humbly glad that they do.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Cheer, I applaud you!

Identity, Indeed.

Julia, I know of no solution to war. I wish I did.

2:52 PM  

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