Today is Rememberance Sunday in the UK, a day that honours the dead, the fallen and the courage of all soldiers who have been sent into battle for this country. The poem below is a graphic and hideous description of the horrors of battle, written by Wilfred Owen during the First World War.
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knocked-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we truned 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 mist panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him 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 gurgling form the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as cud
Of vile, incurable sores on the 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."