Thursday, August 30, 2007

POETRYHYPE: Dulce Et Decorum Est

Here's a great poem about the horrors of war. Thankfully, the world hasn't seen chemical warfare on the scale of what Wilfred Owen describes in this work since the Great War.

For more information on the realities of chemical (and biological) warfare, read A Higher Form of Killing... if you can find it in American Libraries libraries nowadays, that is. It wouldn't be surprising if all the copies of this book have vanished off the shelves in our post-9/11 world. If you do find it, you might want to think twice about checking it out or buying it - your name will probably end up on a list.

The latin translation of the old lie: "It is sweet and noble to die for one's country."

John Singer Sargent's painting "

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.

1 comment:

ad said...

Wow! Excellent piece... excellent post... perfect illo...