Monday, May 29, 2006

memorial fish

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.

Wilfred Owen
1917

2 little fish:

Blogger Carl V. swam up to say...

Wow, that's a great poem for Memorial Day. Thank you.

12:21 PM  
Blogger jenn see swam up to say...

i've always felt this poem to be one of the most intense pieces ever written about war.

it's an essential piece of the whole human disaster that is war...

& even today it's unusual that such a great poet would be a soldier writing on the front...
although i think this most recent war will add a whole lot to the literary record...because of the nature of the conflict, & the people involved, & the way technology works now...

2:32 PM  

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