WW1 in Poetry

In last week’s post ‘Interesting Facts About WW1’ there was the mention of Wilfred Owen, a British soldier that died only a week before the war ended. However, he has not been forgotten, now he is remembered as a poet.

Wilfred Owen is regarded by many as the greatest poet of the First World War. Throughout the war Owen wrote poems to describe what he experienced at the frontline, on the horrors of the trench and gas warfare.

So we thought it would be a good idea to share with you one of his most famous poems:

Wilfred Owen

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.

NOTE: Latin phrase is from the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

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