W is for War

War memorials are all around us, so much so that they and what they represent can be taken for granted. Some are elaborate, others simple, but we should take time out to study them once in a while.

Here are a few photos of memorials from this area alongside the words of Wilfred Owen on the futility of war.

THE LAST LAUGH

‘Oh! Jesus Christ! I’m hit,’ he said; and died.
Whether he vainly cursed or prayed indeed,
The Bullets chirped – In vain, vain, vain!
Machine-guns chuckled, –  Tut-tut! Tut-tut!
And the Big Gun guffawed.

Another sighed, – ‘O Mother,  – Mother, – Dad!’
Then smiled at nothing, childlike, being dead.
And the lofty Shrapnel-cloud
Leisurely gestured, – Fool!
And the splinters spat, and tittered.

‘My Love!’ one moaned. Love-languid seemed his mood,
Till slowly lowered, his whole face kissed the mud.
And the Bayonets’ long teeth grinned;
Rabbles of Shells hooted and groaned;
And the Gas hissed.

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.

ABC Wednesday Round 7

Woodlouse by Ook, She Wrote

Winchester at A Raft of Apples

Watchtower at Sight Lines

Warm Hands at Visual Norway

We Three Kings at Mrs Nesbitt’s Space

Wildlife in Australia by Reader Wil

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

7 comments… Add yours
  • rog 22nd December 2010

    I’m always at a loss when it comes to war. On one hand, they seem to be inevitable, given our human history. On the other hand, so tragic. Did the first soldier curse or pray? Probably both.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 22nd December 2010

    Thanks for visiting Rog. I think the problem is in the way war is portrayed, particularly to the young and especially in computer games. The reality is rather more gruesome than the packaging!

    Reply
  • Yorkshire Pudding 22nd December 2010

    Good to see you’re filled with the spirit of Christmas Mr P – war, death and sad poetry – just what one needs ahead of the Christmas festivities.

    Reply
  • Su-sieee Mac 22nd December 2010

    Powerful poem! I think if we had war memorials that showed the real thing rather than statues of angels and what-not, maybe then we would think twice about allowing powers (not necessarily government) take us into war. Thanks for sharing the poem. Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 23rd December 2010

    YP: Just like Jonah Lewie!

    Su-sieee: I guess the memorials are to make the families feel better rather than the fallen.

    Reply
  • Sara Cat writes 27th December 2010

    Dear Mr Parrot,
    Being a four-footed feline, I don’t know that much about the world outside my house and garden. But thanks to the Internet and books, I have learned a thing or two.
    I totally agree with you about war. It is just too gruesome and horrible. Your choice of poems (or did you write these yourself?) are appropriate for the subject matter. They really get to the point about the horrors of war.
    I haven’t gone through the entire list of ABC-Wed-participants yet. (I’m the very last one working backwards up towards the top.) But I don’t imagine that many have chosen words like ‘War’ for W-week. I chose the word ‘Warrior’ as in ‘Warrior Cats’ because my post is a kind of book review about these cat-books. So we may be the only ones to have chosen words that have to do with war. But I could be wrong. I’ll let you know when I finish visiting the entire list!
    Purrs,
    Sara Cat
    Sara Cat’s ABC-Wd-rd7-W

    Reply
  • Sara Cat writes 27th December 2010

    Oh, now I have reread your post. It was a poem by Wilfrd Owen. I may need glasses, but who would take a cat to an optian?
    Purrs,
    Sara Cat

    Reply

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