Dulce et Decorum Est

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This page last updated on 07/08/2017.

Copyright 2001-2017 by Russ Meyer


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 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, 
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