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Owen’s poem says it all

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On this Remembrance Day, the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War, nothing epitomizes the devastation, waste and horror of war like Wilfred Owen’s Poem.

And yet, yet, the U.S. continues to spend billions to devastate the lands of people in other countries ($700 billion of our tax money for the war machine in the latest budget).

Read it and weep.  “Never again” never happened.

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,
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.

 

Notes:

Latin phrase is from the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

“misty panes and thick green light” refers to the green glass in the gas masks.

 

Kate Tepper

Norwalk

3 comments

Piberman November 12, 2018 at 12:21 pm

How a nation remembers those who gave their lives for our freedom and provides for Veterans are treated speaks volumes. We could do much better.

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