Dulce Et Decorum Est

This one poem was read by my Father each Anzac Day and Remembrance Day – he served his country proudly, but wanted his children to be aware of the old lie. I share it today with you.

Wilfred Owen

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.


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