A Moment of Tranquility Amidst The Storm
But, yielding ourselves to the master-hand,
Each in his part as best he could,
We played it through as the author planned.
-- Alan Seeger.
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear...
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall notfail that rendezvous.
-- Alan Seeger, who was not a defeatisthand-wringer
Posted by: Darth Vag at October 15, 2006 08:09 PM
Posted by: John at October 15, 2006 08:20 PM
First World War. beatiful poetry and prose from both sides. Joyce Kilmer's poem about the poppies on Flander's Field still evokes such passion amongst veterans and their families, that, in both England and the USA, Poppies are still sold on Veteran's day and worn as a sign of remembrance and honour.
The 1st World War had such an impact on those who witnessed it that it was thereafter referred to as "The Great War", and it left deep unhealed wounds and scars on so many who survived it. For many of them, this poetry and prose was a catharsis, inthatthe only way to retreive some sense of normalcy was to relive the heartache, suffering,and sacrifice of generations of young men, and, by remembering through this verse, to let it go a little at a time.
Though war brings out the very worst in human nature, it also brings out it's best, and the writings of that awful time are truly worth the while to gather and read.
In memory of my grandfather, a machine-gunner with the Australians in France, WWI,
Posted by: Gwedd at October 15, 2006 08:35 PM
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.
8 October 1917 - March, 1918
One of my favorites...
Posted by: Gwedd at October 15, 2006 08:53 PM
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD, of the Canadian Army,1872-1918, wrote it.
Joyce Kilmer wrote Memorial Day.
Posted by: Darth Vag at October 15, 2006 10:03 PM
Yes, of course... my bad....
Damn but I hate late nights. I apologise and will flog myself, but try not to enjoy it.
Posted by: Gwedd at October 15, 2006 10:19 PM
While moon trembling vines writh hither and fro
'Tis a fort-night rambling twinelike weaving bows scattered twilight
Hence awakening seething drifting sands covering glowering rims
distant simmering shades festering smoothly smothering glowing fins
Alas eons ambering gloss feckless wondering mist fallow
Hearken morning swerving ambling taken trickling proportion
as winding thermal speculation layeringpositioned postulates
Last Gasp Larry
Posted by: Last gasp Larry at October 16, 2006 12:16 AM
Posted by: Howie at October 16, 2006 08:30 AM
Posted by: Richard H. at October 16, 2006 08:47 AM
Posted by: Last gasp Larry at October 16, 2006 03:28 PM
Posted by: Greyrooster at October 16, 2006 03:58 PM
Posted by: Last gasp Larry at October 17, 2006 02:13 AM
and for a moment, peace dwells.
But then the rifles take up their song,
and the moon is but a skylight in hell.
Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at October 17, 2006 07:54 PM
Posted by: Last gasp Larry at October 18, 2006 05:56 PM
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