Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day with Kenny, Wilfred and the Old Lie





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 gas-shells dropping softly 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
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


May all those being honored today rest in peace, but may they be the last to lose their lives in war.


9 comments:

  1. May they be the last. Amen and amen.

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  2. Exactly what I am feeling. Thank-you. I think I might link this if you don't mind.

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  3. I wrote something similar on Twitter. There is nothing glorifying about war and death.

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  4. a heartbreaking poem. a cruel and ugly lie.

    when will we ever learn?

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  5. Elizabeth - ditto on the amen - perfectly captured my sentiments

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  6. Thank you so much, Elizabeth. I'm finding so little today on Facebook about this day. All these wars and people really not paying attention? I want to believe it's just too painful. It is, isn't it? It is.

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  7. Thank you. I was not familiar with the poem until now.

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