Sunday, January 7, 2007

Anthem for Doomed Youth

I've been reading some of the poetry of Wilfred Owen, a British poet and WW One soldier, who was killed in battle, just a short time before the armastice. Its very intense and somehow appropriate for the upcoming troop "surge" in Iraq. This poem is from the "War to End All Wars". When will people wise up and understand that war never ends war. Just breeds new ones. What will end war? Justice?


What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
-Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,-
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.


Suzy said...

Our society needs a different model for raising sons (and now daughters,) complete with explicit messages about the futility of war. They deserve so much better than that. Military recruitment is the ultimate in cynicism.

poodledoc said...

Yes, I couldn't agree more. My son and I went to see "Night at the Museum" last week, currently the box office leader. During the previews there was an exciting, colorful ad for the Army National Guard, listing all the glorious opportunities for young people in the Guard. After each "opportunity" I said, loudly, "and Iraq, too". I embarrased my som a bit, but he gets the bullshit and lies these folks put out. Then last night, I briefly watched the college football "all star game", which pits the best of the East vs the best of the West. They were all wearing football jerseys, and helmets emblazoned with "ARMY". And none of these guys were actually playing for the Army football team. Its such a pervasive message, we really need to shout down these ads, complain to the networks, over and over, provide other options than the military for "job training".......or it's just like Owen's poem....