9th Grade English

Barbara Huckabay
  • Barbara Huckabay

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  • Biography

Ninth Grade Assignment due Wednesday, October 16

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dulce et Decorum Est


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                                 Flares -  rockets with brilliant
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.                                   lights sent up to illuminate targets.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots   
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;                        The men are marching back from
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots                                         the front lines for a few days’ rest.
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.                     Five-Nines are explosive shells
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,                            falling behind them.
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;                                              Chlorine gas has been released
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,                           “Clumsy helmets” are gas masks.
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .                                      Lime is a chalky substance that can
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,                        burn live tissue
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.                                      Panes are  eye pieces in the mask
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.                            Guttering – flickering like a candle
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace                         going out.
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                                                Cud - bubbly mass that cows burp up 
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.
 

Wilfred Owen
8 October 1917 - March, 1918

The Roman poet Horace originally said, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” It is sweet and right to die for your country.

Writing Assignment:
Write in a simple, straightforward prose paragraph exactly what takes place in this poem. Do not add or invent. Try to explain it as clearly as possible.