‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen

This has long been the poem I most associate with Veteran’s Day, so I was delighted to find it on the excellent blog A Poem for Every Day. Emily’s analysis of it is great too.

A poem for every day

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 tired, outstripped Five-Nines 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 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…

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4 responses to “‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen

  1. I’d never read that poem before. It is beautiful and terrible.

  2. Great quote. A more recent example of war poetry is Yusef Komunyakaa’s collection Dien Cai Dau about his time in Vietnam. Very powerful stuff.

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