Tuesday, November 11, 2008

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 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 was still 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 hung 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.*



* "tis sweet and fitting to die for one's country"
Wilfred Owen

1 comment:

Daniello Dello said...

I've read this one before. I really like it.