Sunday, November 08, 2009

Lest We Forget

As is the tradition on this blog on Remembrance Sunday, here is Wilfred Owen's "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 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
Since the last Remembrance Sunday post I've discovered many of my relatives fought, and many died, in the First World War. They were young lads, mostly volunteers who signed up in 1914, who sacrificed their lives for our country. We must never forget them nor all those who continue to fight, and die, in our name.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

1 comment:

  1. It's an amazing poem, so evocative and powerful - it really should be more widely known.

    It's also worth looking out Carol Ann Duffy's poem Last post, which she wrote earlier this year when Henry Allingham died. It references this poem and is also very good.