Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori

Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori 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 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
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.


Because we still fight wars for human rights and our security…we remember and honour, also, at 11.11  the men and women who serve today and the many who have died in recent wars in The Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan…


5 thoughts on “Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori

  1. Wilfred Owen died exactly a week before the armistice. He was right: it’s an old lie, young men sent sent to fight wars between old men. The same old, sad story. We can honour them, those men who died in the prime of youth for the glory of their political masters, and we remember those who gave their lives for the policies of those in charge. Was it worth it? Perhaps, but was it a sacrifice too far?

  2. Requiem for the Dead of Europe (“Requiem für die Gefallenen von Europa”)

    Let me lament the exodus of so many men from their time;
    Let me lament the women whose warbling hearts now scream;
    Every lament let me note and add to the list,
    When young widows sit by lamplight mourning for husbands lost;
    I hear the blonde-voiced children crying for God their father at bedtime;
    On every mantelpiece stand photographs wreathed with ivy, smiling, true to the past;
    At every window stand lonely girls whose burning eyes are bright with tears;
    In every garden lilies are growing, as though there’s a grave to prepare;
    In every street the cars are moving more slowly, as though to a funeral;
    In every city of every land you can hear the passing-bell;
    In every heart there’s a single plaint,
    I hear it more clearly every day.

    Yvan Goll.

  3. I’m ex-RAF and although I enjoyed my time in service, I sometimes wonder what kind of madness made me join up. And I see that the same lunacy prevails now wherever I look.

    How did they ever think they could win a War in Afghanistan…….And what’s it for?

    It has very little to do with Human rights…….Once again it’s about Oil and greed.

    It’s about an Oil pipeline that was, or still is, to be built through that country, but they didn’t want the Taliban to be in charge of Afghanistan once it was done………..

    And it’s being paid for with the blood of our young men………

    Won’t it be a wonderful day in our history when hospitals have enough money to buy all of the equipment they need to heal the sick………

    (And won’t it be equally marvelous when the Armed Forces have to throw Tupperware parties, do car-boot sales and run marathons to get enough money to buy weapons.)

    So that sick people can be cured instead of more young people becoming killed or maimed……..Also adding to the stress being laid on the NHS in the future.

    The Armed Forces pay and daily conditions have improved since this poem was written, but not the attitude of young men being expendable commodities for the Government’s latest folly……

    I think that this poem by A.E. Houseman says it all…………


    The Queen she sent to look for me,
    The sergeant he did say,
    ‘Young man, a soldier will you be
    For thirteen pence a day?’

    For thirteen pence a day did I
    Take off the things I wore,
    And I have marched to where I lie,
    And I shall march no more.

    My mouth is dry, my shirt is wet,
    My blood runs all away,
    So now I shall not die in debt
    For thirteen pence a day.

    To-morrow after new young men
    The sergeant he must see,
    For things will all be over then
    Between the Queen and me.

    And I shall have to bate my price,
    For in the grave, they say,
    Is neither knowledge nor device
    Nor thirteen pence a day.

    It’s not Treason to speak common sense……

    God bless our misguided young Troops……

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