– 2010-10-10 11:13:09
WORLD WAR I
Dulce et Decorum Est
8 October 1917 – March, 1918
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 hoots4
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.
Gary Jacobson – 1999
Agent Orange barrels stockpiled
Vietnam’s sweet revenge.
Absorbed into a soldier’s
Fighting war politick.
Agent Orange clinging,
A defoliant sucking the life
That death bereaves.
It kills a forest to kill the foe,
You reap what you sow.
Agent Orange impregnates
not only forest leaves,
But to a soldier’s long-life
Agent Orange goes home with him
To plague children unborn,
Embracing his loved ones
With a heritage forsworn.
In pseudo reverence,
Agent Orange has become
His clingstone inheritance.
Agent Orange to a soldier bequeaths
Entwining innocent legacies
Derived from a forest’s dying.
Can you hear his family crying
The whole world sighing?
Forever sweet fruit implies,
But this deadly condiment
Its name belies.
Sprayed to keep enemies
From hiding in Nam’s jungles therein,
We paid dearly
This war to win.
Our children’s bright future,
Evermore… like a vulture
Hovering in an unknown darkness
Hanging over us,
Looming over us,
Waiting for us.
Poem from Iraq
When the guns lay silent and my weapon rests
When morning comes and greets me and puts medals on my chest;
I will weep and remember.
Don’t ask me why I cry for I might have to tell,
Show you what’s inside of me; the visions I have of hell.
For all thatâ€™s lost I remember now
And pain it racks my brow.
The eyes have seen the darkness fall, and I felt the fear of men
And here I am in desert waste, preparing for home again.
Where is the Angel that guided me?
Where is the spirit true?
Where is the love that I have lost?
My darling where are you?
Lament for Ariana
What will you do, Ariana? For I must leave you
Who will protect you when the ones I chased from your nest
Return roaring, coming to trample you with their loathing?
Who will take your hand to guide you in your paths?
Will it be the Students, as the Pharisees of old,
Vipers, ignoring the spirit of your Holy Prophet?
Who told you that your unfeeling books
Are greater than the suffering of your innocent babes?
Care you not that the laws are deaf to the cries of your children?
Who gave you to think that all women
Because of their beauty should stay hidden,
Meek and submissive, walking three steps behind you
So as not to vex your dominion?
Will you grow strong in the light of intelligence
Or will you follow the footsteps of your unknowing fathers,
Numbing your conscience with endless repetitive prayers?
Your Father is listening: beseech the heavens to enlighten and bless you,
That you may gain your letters, raise your voice to the world
Denouncing your anguish to silence the swords that oppress you.
Shout, my children!
May your fathers raise you up from the ashes of the ages,
Be not sullied by blind tradition’s hate
And be strong in your faith to thereby in truth become great.
What will you do, my child, to calm your weeping?
Who will see your woman’s face when you’ve grown?
Who will bear you up when you awake from your sleeping?
Good bye, my darling, Ariana, I must go…