History world war one poetry

Authors Avatar

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 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.

Wilfred Owen

The poem ‘Dulce ET Decrorum EST’ was written by Wilfred Owen in 1917, towards the end of the war. Wilfred Owen was born on the 18th March 1893 and dies just seven days exactly before peace broke out on the 14th November 1918 during the Battle of the Sambre. Wilfred came from Oswestry Shropshire but grew up in Shrewsbury. He was educated at he Birkenhead Institute and at Shrewsbury Technical School, which is now known as the Wakeman School. On the 21st October 1915 he joined the army and for the next seven months he trained Hare Hall camp in Essex. Owen started the war very cheerful and optimist like Rupert Brooke his feelings of the war soon changed.

Join now!

In this poem Wilfred Owen is describing what a soldier sees and has to live with during the war. In the First verse he describes Soldiers welfare, ‘Bent double, like old beggars under sacks’ Wilfred is describing the men’s backs, saying that they are unable to stand up properly as they are in so much pain. He also explains the soldier’s lungs ‘Knock-kneed, coughing like hags we cursed through the sludge’ this is saying that because of the poising Gas, smoke and stench from the dead bodies, and rodents there lungs have been weakened and were now coughing like an ...

This is a preview of the whole essay