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 out 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.

by Wilfred Owen

Comments (9)

I can't express in words what i feel about this beautiful poem.
an excellent poetess.i love this poem
I think this is the penultimate Dorothy Parker and I really never notice the rhyming because it is so natural, it just seems to happen rather than the author stretching to rhyme; one mark of an excellent poet to me.
One of my favourites by her, such ability to express a strong feeling, passion, yet not tell it to the loved one. Great!
I like the phrase drink your rushing words with eager lips. The protagonist is communicating her desire, her thirst for his attention. The phrase trace your brow with tutored fingertips makes me wonder how intimate her relationship is with this other person. Are they lovers of some sort? But the last line shows that this lack of consideration is a two way street: when he's away she might be having some adventures of her own.
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