i’m not sure
she realises how
much affection i
hold for her. how
much I wish she
was always beside
me, or how she
distracts me from
everything but her.
and her smile.
could end wars.
the war inside of
I am torn in two / but I will conquer myself. / I will dig up the pride. / I will take scissors and cut out the beggar. / I will take a crowbar and pry out the broken / pieces of God in me. / I will conquer them all and build a whole nation of God / in me — but united, / build a new soul, / dress it with skin / and then put on my shirt / and sing an anthem, / a song of myself.
I still miss you but it’s not the same anymore. I won’t call and I refuse to let my hands reach out for you because I have learned the hard way that you are not a place I can rest upon. You were never a safe place for me to reside in and there was nothing sacred about the way you disarmed me if it was only for your convenience. I became soft for you. I lost my fear of stepping out into the open and I did it for you. I never should have. I should have retrieved my heart on the day where all the casualties began to pile up on my side of the battlefield. And even then, in the death of everything good that I used to be, I still found ways to love you. Maybe they weren’t always good. But I did my best. Even from here, years after the soil has forgotten all the blood I spilled there, I am still loving you in the only way I know how- with my hands at my side, a phone call log that doesn’t remember your phone number and a heart that still loves you but has grown too tired to try to make a home amidst your war zone.
October 8, 1917 - Wilfred Owen Drafts “Dulce et Decorum Est”
Pictured - Owen at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh in 1917.
Writing to his mother from hospital, Wilfred Owen included a draft of a poem about a gas attack, titled “Dulce et Decorum Est.”
“Here is a gas poem, done yesterday… …the famous Latin tag
(from Horace, Odes) means of course it is sweet to die for one’s
country. Sweet! and decorous!“”
Craiglockhart hosptial in Edinburgh used psychology to treat shell-shocked officers, among them Owen and his hero, Siegfried Sassoon. Sassoon had been admitted after publishing a note denouncing the war and the generals; the military saw fit to avoid any awkwardness by diagnosing Sassoon as a mental health patient. Owen admired Sassoon and some of the poems he wrote at Craiglockhart show revisions by the other poet. “Dulce et Decorum Est” is Owen’s most famous, published posthumously after he returned to the Western Front and died on November 4, 1918, a week before the armistice.
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 gas-shells dropping softly 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.
maybe we’ve got blood on our hands
fury pounding in our souls
and each other’s name acting as the beat of our hearts
and I’m not leaving without you
I’m not going to the grave unless I’ve said the words
because even though my bones always scream with your echoes
it’s not enough unless you know that you are the other half of me
we swore that we change together
darling, we’ve already started plucking the stars to form constellations
so our story doesn’t end here, in fire and ruin and loss
because our story is that we made each other better
When I say I’m no good for you, I mean it.
Don’t say “you’re beautiful and so perfect in my eyes.”
You don’t know what goes on in my head, my late night sessions at 2 AM.
I say I’m no good for you not to be ‘bad’ but because I’m toxic.
I’ll slowly kill you inside, and you’ll always keep coming back.
I’ll always be too cold for you to shine your way through.
So listen well, boy, or else you’ll end up like the rest.