by Wilfred Owen
First Published in 1921 (Words)
Analysis (thanks to Ms. Sloth):
Summary: The poet, Wilfred Owen, is recalling an incident he experienced during the First World War. He begins by describing the extreme tiredness of the soldiers, their beggared appearance and their injuries. Suddenly there is a gas attack and one of the soldiers puts on his mask too late. The others place him in a wagon. The image of him suffering and coughing up blood haunts the poet. He realizes that dying for one’s country is not as noble as they had been taught.
After reading this poem, create a table where you display examples of the following:
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- Line breaks
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 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 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.