Friday, June 15, 2007

It is Sweet and Fitting

While taking a literature class in school this past semester I came across the poem "Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen. I ended up writing my literary analysis essay on the meaning of this poem. The translation of the final lines in Latin is "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country." Owen wrote this poem while serving in France with the British Army during World War 1.

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.


2520 said...

Hey Rachel!

Hope you are having a good week. You are going to the retreat? See you there?!!


Laura said...

what does "Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori" mean? It's French right?

I'm coming over on Sunday...

I finally updated my blog... but i think it's a little depressing. leave me a comment :)

Necia said...

People should read this.