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andrew.simone commented on the word dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
'It is good and proper to die for the fatherland.'
December 5, 2006
sionnach commented on the word dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
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 gurgling 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 estPro patria mori.
Pro patria mori
Wilfred Owen (1893 -- 1918) died fighting for England in World War I, just one week before the armistice was signed and the war ended.
July 11, 2008
chained_bear commented on the word dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
Thank you for posting this, sionnach. I have always loved this poem.
a minor note--I thought it was "bitter as the cud," not bitten.
You are right, c_b. - thanks! I've corrected it, and also added the "obscene as cancer" part which had somehow vanished.
(Or, if you prefer, "gone missing").
bilby commented on the word dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
It's the only one of those Obligatory School Poems that a) set me on my knees; b) inspired me to do some writing itself, and c) I can remember any sizeable part of.
The saddest part is the so many wars have taken place since, yet I still salute Wilfred Owen.
Bilby, you might like Macfarlane's The Danger Tree, if you haven't already read it. (Kind of tenuous connection, except for the WWI part, but a great book.)
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