Poetry and Literature of World War I
Extra Credit is available
* It is sweet and proper to die for your country Wilfred Owen, died 1918
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. *
Nudes -- stark and glistening, Yelling in lurid glee. Grinning faces And raging limbs Whirl over the floor one fire. For a shirt verminously busy Yon soldier tore from his throat, with oaths Godhead might shrink at, but not the lice. And soon the shirt was aflare Over the candle he'd lit while we lay.
Then we all sprang up and stript To hunt the verminous brood. Soon like a demons' pantomine The place was raging.
What a louse looks like if it were large enough to see.
See the silhouettes agape, See the glibbering shadows Mixed with the battled arms on the wall. See gargantuan hooked fingers Pluck in supreme flesh To smutch supreme littleness. See the merry limbs in hot Highland fling Because some wizard vermin Charmed from the quiet this revel When our ears were half lulled By the dark music Blown from Sleep's trumpet Isaac Rosenberg