The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Wednesday


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 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.


(1921)

The Latin means that it is sweet and proper to die for one's country.


* * * *

The bad news: Bush. The worse news: Sharon. Though maybe the bad news in Israel will have minor positive repercussions, because Bush has to know that if he bombs Iraq and Iraq bombs Israel, then Sharon will probably nuke the oil fields in retaliation. And there's no point in the U.S. going to war with Iraq if Sharon is going to make the oil fields unusable until the radiation has reached safe levels, because that won't be during the current administration. Even Bush must be able to do that math.

Have mixed feelings about spouting off about Israeli politics. On the one hand, I'm not an Israeli citizen and have never been to Israel and get irrationally irked when I listen to Israelis spout off about American politics and the obligations of American Jews to Israel. On the other hand, am sick to holy hell of conspiracy theories and flagrant misstatements by ignorant people about 1948, 1969, 1972 and various other pivotal moments in Israeli history, by uneducated (often anti-Semitic) Americans. Can't decide who piss me off more -- the rabid right-wing Christian pro-Israel alliance who believe that a strong Jewish state is necessary so that their Messiah can return as predicted and eradicate Judaism via conversion, or the rabid leftist secular anti-Israel alliance who believe that Israel is an imperialist U.S. puppet created expressly to steal natural resources and oppress oppositional thought. There are thoughtless idiots all over the political spectrum.

Have to go to the dentist so had better not get on a serious rant. Will be back in a few hours with hopefully clean teeth. Am still insanely in love with ashinae -- just wanted to mention that. Anyone who wants to know why I didn't write to them last night, let's just say it was all her fault.

The good news, gacked from viva_gloria:

I will be struck down by a meteor!



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