I remember as a young child, my Grandpa sitting on the end of my bed in the Isle of Wight telling me bedtime stories. Stories of the wars, but with his unique twists and funny sound effects.
How I loved his stories. Stories of war to a child are fascinating, filled with heroes and adventure. Guns to shoot the enemies from afar, imaginary grenades lobbed into fortresses to blast away the enemy, and remaining survivors hoisting the white flags as you overrun the defences.
That was the child me, in the playground for many years with my friends, lobbing grenades. The child me never understood how horrific war was.
It is as you get older, you understand the unique twists and the funny sound effects were to dampen the devastation, hide the horror and cushion the child’s imagination. A heroic war story to some was a living nightmare to others.
I openly admit how fascinated I am with the written language, the formation of words, the importance of articulation and the power behind the pen. And how I wish I could write a piece of poetry myself about this day, but how can I? And why would I? When I can leave it to the likes of Wilfred Owen.
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 gas-shells dropping softly 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, chocking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace– Wilfred Owen
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
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.
Lest We Forget
And as always, thanks for reading.