Wednesday, 11 February 2009

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 out 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
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
Argonne Forest At Midnight
A sapper's song from the World War 1915

Argonne Forest, at midnight, A sapper atands on guard. A star shines high up in the sky, bringing greetings from a distant homeland.

And with a spade in his hand, He waits forward in the sap-trench. He thinks with longing on his love, Wondering if he will ever see her again.

The artillery roars like thunder, While we wait in front of the infantry, With shells crashing all around. The Frenchies want to take our position.

Should the enemy threaten us even more, We Germans fear him no more. And should he be so strong, He will not take our position.

The storm breaks! The mortar crashes! The sapper begins his advance. Forward to the enemy trenches, There he pulls the pin on a grenade.

The infantry stand in wait, Until the hand grenade explodes. Then forward with the assault against the enemy, And with a shout, break into their position.

Argonne Forest, Argonne Forest, Soon thou willt be a quiet cemetary.

In thy cool earth rests much gallant soldiers' blood.

An unknown German War Poet.