Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori - Poetry Project November

I have been reading war poetry... Can you tell? I do not normally speak in Latin  but 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori' means 'it is sweet and right to die for your country'. I thought it was a fitting title for the month. You can just say "War Remembrance" or something along those lines.

The title actually comes from me reading 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen. I was googling WWI poets and he was one that came up. I read him ages ago, but I don't really seek out and read poetry enough to call myself an expert on his poetry. I just was looking for WWI-related stuff. It's hard to believe this poem didn't stick with me more. It is graphic and descriptive of the events of WWI. I have always paid more attention to WWII than WWI. I think it was because several of my relatives had lived through that and were still alive when I was growing up. It is gaining popularity right now because the 100th anniversary is not too far away.

Then I moved on to 'Here Dead We Lie'. It is by A E Housman. It ends with the line 'And we were young'. You can't help pausing and thinking just how young. The sign-up age was 18, but kids lied and joined in anyway. It was definitely a different time. I wonder often how the same situation would be handled in this day and age. Kids are used to a very different lifestyle. Would they rush to join up? Lie about their ages? It's something I hope we never have to test...

Another poem that I had on my mind was written in response to 'In Flanders Fields'. I included the original poem on my post the other day. I honestly only knew that one existed and racked my brain trying to think of how it goes. It turns out that there are lots of responses to the famous poem. It was interesting to read poems written over the years in response to a scribbled few lines on a battlefield. Every year when Remembrance Day comes around I get another poem in my mind. It is a considerable amount longer, but it is actually the fourth stanza that I always remember:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, 
We will remember them.
You can read the full seven stanzas here.

Share your own War Remembrance poems below. I look forward to the posts!


  1. I had forgotten about "Dulce Et Decorum Est," but it's a great poem. Thanks for reminding me. I read it for the first time at the same time I was introduced to the poem I posted - "The Cherry Trees" by Edward Thomas.

  2. Thanks for sharing such a poignant piece. We occasionally used to delve in to war poetry during Remembrance Day back at home. Thanks so much for the reminder.
    I posted a poem by the French poet Jacques Prevert titled 'The Speech About Peace' - it is a surrealist piece, cynical and just brilliant.

  3. There were so many poignant and powerful poems from which to choose, I had a difficult time. I'm afraid I also chose 'For the Fallen' for this month's post. It just seemed to ring on after I'd finished reading it.

    If you are interested, I have also reviewed (sort of) three new (to me) books of poetry this month and the links are under my "On Poetry" tab.


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