Tuesday, November 11, 2008
November 11th is a holiday in the United States and many other countries, now called "Veteran's Day" it was originally commemorative of the end of WWI - Armistice Day - which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
Usually I post McCrae's In Flanders' Fields but today, I'll post Wilfred Owen.
Dulce et Decorum Est (written in 1917 and published posthumously in 1921) is a poem by World War I soldier Wilfred Owen. The work's horrifying imagery has made it one of the most popular condemnations of war ever written. It was originally drafted as a personal letter to the famous pro-war poet Jessie Pope.
— Excerpted from Dulce et Decorum Est on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
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.
The poem above always spoke to me, but no more so than last year when we were in Flanders, visiting the WWI memorials and cemeteries surrounding Ieper. Hearing Last Post played at the Menim Gate.
Robin 12:58 PM