Friday, November 11, 2011

Break of Day in the Trenches

The darkness crumbles away.
It is the same old druid Time as ever,
Only a live thing leaps my hand,
A queer sardonic rat
As I pull the parapet's poppy
To stick behind my ear.
Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew
Your cosmopolitan sympathies.
Now you have touched this English hand
You will do the same to a German
Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure
To cross the sleeping green between.
It seems you inwardly grin as you pass
Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes,
Less chanced than you for life,
Bonds to the whims of murder,
Sprawled in the bowels of the earth,
The torn fields of France.
What do you see in our eyes
At the shrieking iron and flame
Hurled through still heavens?
What quaver -- what heart aghast?
Poppies whose roots are in man's veins
Drop, and are ever dropping;
But mine in my ear is safe --
Just a little white with the dust.

June 1916
Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918)
More here. 


geoff said...

I really need a respite from the remembrance stuff, particularly the stuff from WWI. That particular clusterfuck had such an awful impact on my family we are only now getting over it. By that I mean my children and nieces and nephews know only little about it and I want to keep it that way. They won't have to wake to be told all their brothers were killed on the same glorious day in 1916; or learn how to live with a human log - no arms no legs; or fight for a pension for the blind; or; or; or. Bugger remembrance, militaristic chicken shit. Our war dead were and are important to our and their comrades and not the elite schmucks posturing with their poppies & endless, endless celebration of the death of other people's children.

So with that off my chest where is the literature, poetry, etc. from our recent preemption fun & games. Only poems I'm aware of out of the various COALITIONS are those of Brian Turner, yet no Norman Mailer, no Vera Britton, no Robert Graves. no Michael Herr, no Paul Fussell, Instead the BS of "Hurt Locker" so unrealistic it was painful to watch. Maybe it's I'm not paying enough attention and looking for some of the so called "forces" to makes some sense out of what we've done over there without being so self absorbed and maybe a bit guilty.

Turner reading Here Bullet, just for interest maybe:


Sorry I got way too personal but I'm not editing it out as a form of my remember to my grandparents and great uncles and aunts and parents and uncles and aunts.

Boris said...

Geoff, I think part of the problem has to do with the small scale of the conflict. The real impact is easier to lose in the noise of the propaganda around it. Lots of flags, yellow ribbon stickers, and other bullshit, very little substance. In other wars, the very real impacts of this stuff would be felt in nearly every single family in the nation. Stories of war would also not have to compete with Justin bloody Bieber for attention.