There Will Be No Flowering of This Youth (April, 2008)They come home in body bags or flag-draped coffinsBarely acknowledged except as numbersThere will be no flowering of this youthOr the countless collateral deadThey will not hold smiling babies in their armsKiss their wives, husbands, loversThere will be no flowering of this youthAnd other burnt-out damaged livesWill wither on the vineOf our indifference and inactionAs madmen hold swaySpending lives with reckless abandonTo purchase power or oilOr "victory" - whatever that is - at any priceThere will be no flowering of this youthI was told once "You become the thing you hate"Never has it seemed more trueThan when the acceptability of tortureCan even be discussedAnd young men die abroadWhile their country is destroyed from withinThere will be no flowering of this youthMeanwhile, as bodies pile up and families grieveThe rest of us do nothingWe barely feel the pain unless the dead belong to usAnd the coffins continue coming homeAlong with the wounded and spirit-damagedHere and everywhereWhile the world's heart is breakingThere will be no flowering of this youth- Katherine E. Rabenau
Dulce Et Decorum Est
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 disappointed shells 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 floundering 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.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Daily Reminder # 79
I watched an superb horrible movie tonight - The Hurt Locker. Not for the squeamish or faint of heart, but the violence - which is awful - is not gratuitous. It is a grinding, devastating 2 hour glimpse of what those who fight in our current wars live with on a daily and hourly basis. I have long worried that none will escape PTSD. I worry even more now. I was troubled by our unjustified attacks on Iraq, not thrilled when we invaded Afghanistan. Having invaded, I don't know what I think our responsibility is. I wish we weren't there, but I don't know if we should just leave. I hate that so many people - ours and theirs - are dying in absurd numbers because of the insanity of a small collection of lunatic and the power lust of another set. I pray for peace and a world where people want to nurture each other instead of kill and control each other. Because I believe that what we give energy to, we also give power to, I try to be pro Peace rather than Anti war. Guess that's what I have to say for now.
I have a war poem of my own that I wrote a couple of years ago that I wasn't going to share (it's not very good), but I guess I'll post it.... It kind of dated and it isn't very good, especially compared to the second poem - one of my favorite ever poems: Wilfred Owens' Dulce & Decorum. Owens died young in World War I, when this poem was written. The last line of Owens' poem translates to "It is sweet and good to die for one's country."