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Monday, November 12, 2007


It is the (often cynical) humour of the British "Tommy" that sees him through. I found this in a book I am currently reading ( "Gone for a Soldier, A History of Life in the British Ranks") and thought it might lighten the mood after my last post.

And nothing changes!

As it was (60 AD)

And is now (2007AD)

Saturday, November 10, 2007


November 11th.
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 disappointed shells 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 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 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
Owen was known as "The Soldiers' Poet" - he told it like it was, without the "Tunes of Glory" and knew the disgust, fright and filth of war.
(A commentary on this poem and on the poet can be read by clicking on his name above.)