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11 November 2005 @ 11:21 am
Poet's Corner: Armistice Day special edition (part two)  

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 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
.

Wilfred Owen (1893–1918)

 
 
allthatjazmyne: parlay by valdeziconsallthatjazmyne on November 11th, 2005 06:48 pm (UTC)
Love love love love love Wilfred Owen. I have never been a huge fan of poetry, because in school the "read and enjoy poetry" part was inevitably followed by the "write your own poem!" part. I completely understand rhythm and meter, but I just didn't have the ability to write poetry. Especially not free verse. I didn't get that at all. I would write something, hand it in, and the teacher would tell me "this isn't really a poem," and I never understood why. So the history of civ class in which I was first introduced to Wilfred Owen was the first class in which there was just the "read and enjoy poetry" part. My two favorite poets are Wilfred Owen and Leslie Norris, both of whom we read in that class.
John Heaton: poetryjheaton on November 12th, 2005 12:58 am (UTC)
I don't think I'm familiar with Leslie Norris. I'll have to check him (her?) out.
allthatjazmyneallthatjazmyne on November 12th, 2005 01:24 am (UTC)
Him. I never took a class from him at BYU, but he was friends with one of my History Of Civ professors, and several of his poems were on our reading list. I enjoyed most of them, although my favorite is "Hudson's Geese." Ironic, given my usual hatred of geese, I suppose, but I think it's an incredibly romantic poem. One evening the entire class was invited to our professor's home, where Norris read several of his poems to us, and talked about a lot of different things, most of it completely unrelated to the poetry, but quite fascinating.
long shadows and gunpowder eyes: Immortality - faerie_danceabby20 on November 12th, 2005 12:05 am (UTC)
Heh, I was about to say "that poem brings back such good memories," meaning the classes where I've looked at it. On its own, however, that would've sounded at least eight kinds of disturbing.

In any case, it's a fantastic poem.
amyjtooamyjtoo on November 12th, 2005 12:25 am (UTC)
Ack, vaguely familar Latin
I immediately thought this sounded familiar from high school, too. Though, I fear my Latin has failed me.
John Heaton: historyjheaton on November 12th, 2005 12:57 am (UTC)
Re: Ack, vaguely familar Latin
Ah, let's see, it's something like, "It is sweet and good to die for one's country." It's by, um, Juvenal? Horace? Hold on a sec... Horace. God bless Google.
amyjtooamyjtoo on November 12th, 2005 05:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Ack, vaguely familar Latin
Ahh, thank you! Now I don't have to obsess over finding my Latin dictionary among my packed away books.

I was thinking patria had something to do with fatherland/country - but that was about as far as I was getting.