Tuesday, May 15, 2007


A 20-year old soldier from Noble County, Indiana, the Author’s birthplace, was recently killed in Iraq. Below is the poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen, a World War I soldier poet. Wilfred Owen was killed on November 4th 1918, only seven days before the Armistice to end the “War to End all Wars” was signed. The poem is dedicated to this soldier and to the other casualties in Iraq.

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 estPro patria mori.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori: How sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country--an old Latin saying very popular on military gravestones.



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