11.11.2016

11.11

Anthem for Doomed Youth
by Wilfred Owen
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.



Dulce et Decorum Est
by Wilfred Owen
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
.

6 comments:

James Redekop said...

I'm doing my traditional Owen posts to Facebook this year, and I've tossed in a couple of extra, non-Owen works as bookends.

I still had Anthem for Doomed Youth up in my editor when this came through my RSS feed...

Lorne said...

I used to teach both of these poems, Laura. Timelessly powerful, they need to be read at least once a year.

James Redekop said...

My aunt posted this in response to one of the Owen poems: The Case Against "In Flanders Fields"

laura k said...

Good stuff. I truly dislike Flanders Fields. It's pro-war and it's bad poetry!

This is a nice addition to the growing list of "why I don't wear a poppy" statements.

laura k said...

Lorne, you taught in Canada, yes? I wish these were more well known in the US.

justagirl said...

Dulce Et Decorum Est is the one I share every year. When I was in school we had Remembrance Day Assemblies and the mantra was always "Never Again". I don't hear that mantra often enough anymore.