Sunday, October 28, 2007


Dulce et Decorum Est

A poem that can never be recited too often.

Standing before a recruiting station yesterday morning in the rain: We sent a coffin on a sad journey to Philadelphia, where thousands were gathering to demand an end to this wretched war. One of our group read Wilfred Owen's terrible description of a comrade attacked by chemical gas in WWI. The poem ends,

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.

The old lie: How sweet and right it is to die for one's country.

Listen to the poem read beautifully as part of the radio comic strip 11 Central Ave here:

For more on the radio show:

Read Martín Espada's commentary on the poem, reposted on this blog in April:

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