Dependable Erection

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Armistice Day

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 for them from prayers or 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 goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of silent minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
- Wilfred Owen




(Photo from the WW I document archive)

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5 Comments:

  • Thank you, Barry -- for the reminder... and the truly beautiful poem.

    For the (many) wonks among us, an annotated version of the poem, explaining the references -- and do read some of his other poetry as well. It's haunting and would make a pacifist out of anyone:

    http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/owen2.html

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:19 PM  

  • This is too weird, Barry.

    We posted the same poem, at almost the same time.

    (I guess it isn't that weird, given the appropriateness for the occasion, but still...)

    By Blogger Brian, at 12:45 PM  

  • i actually had posted "Flanders Field", but thought better of it after hitting "submit" and replaced it with this one.

    Still.

    btw - if you think people find your place via strange google search strings, you should see my referrer logs some time.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 12:55 PM  

  • I have no doubt.

    By Blogger Brian, at 3:33 PM  

  • I've always been partial to Yeats in this regard.  And Dos Passos, when I am feeling less elegiac.

    By Anonymous Kevin Farmer, at 1:33 PM  

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