Solving the World's problems with common sense and a flamethrower.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

11/11/1918 - 11/11/2008.

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 tired, outstripped Five-Nines 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 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.


Hedgewytch said...

Wilfred Owen RIP
Mar 18th 1893 - Nov 4th 1918
Such a tragic waste of life, of talent of youth.
Oh what beauty he would have created in happier days. Instead this stark, painful description of the hell that they went through. His words bring it to us, we who could not imagine, believe such things in this time of relative peace.
We will remember them.

Hedgewytch said...

dunno if you saw this from last year?

Anonymous said...

Time for poetic comments, I think. I wrote this 4 years ago:-

To live for, yearn for, that glorious killer,
that brassy pointed barrel filler,
to kiss the sun, embrace a darkness,
to kill the bystanders, to silence a witness.
Passion fuelled,
excuses pre-filled,
a cleaned and oiled and slicing death
that explodes in you and steals your breath
a thing you “wield” instead of “use”
to produce a horror that makes the news
and gets glamourised by Hollywood
in silly tales to win an award
and unthinking plaudits from boring cynics
who ignore the truth behind the edits
of children’s parents dead and gone
and mother’s children who wont come home.

Marching men who sound out songs
and epithets like the “happy throng”
the “band of brothers” and “alpha force”
ignore the facts as a matter of course
that war is bad and people die
and tragedy is what makes us cry
not actor’s looks or the jutting chins
of handsome heroes with perfect grins.