Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Armistice/Veteran's Day Poem: Dulce et Decorum Est

So when I was a kid, my mom bought us a book of war and peace poems and read them with us. That's where I first encountered famous poems like "Abhu Ben Adam" and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and "In Flanders Field" (that's what being brought up by Jewish intellectuals is like, folks). It also had the below poem which has always haunted me, as I'm sure it has to most everyone who reads it.

On a day like today it's hard to pick just one anti-war poem, since there are so many devastating ones. But if one must (and one must), Wilfred Owen is the clear choice.

What are your favorite poems or books that describe war and its consequences, readers?

Wilfred Owen

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment