adbusters, “the journal for the mental environment,” is a great magazine with no ads and more far-left, young, vibrant, idealistic espousing than you could shake a stick at. Described as, “a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age,” by it’s founders, it’s stylish and fun to read. Well, fun is kind of a strong word—a lot of the content is pretty sobering, at least when taken at face value.
One of the articles in the newest issue discussed one of my favorite poems, which I had actually forgotten about: Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum est,” which follows, because it’s pretty incredible:
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 disappointed shells 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 floundering 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.
(The last line translated from latin, means, “it is sweet and right to die for your country.”)
While I don’t think it’s ever lost it’s topicality, it seems especially relevant currently.