47 minutes ago
Tuesday, November 11
War. Huh. Yeah. What is it good for? Absolutely nuthin'. Say it again
Sorry to get all serious here on There Will Be Blog but 20 million people (yes, 20 fucking million) died in the First World War and today is the 90th anniversary of its end.
BBC4 recently screened a great documentary - presented by Jeremy Paxman - on Wilfred Owen, a soldier whose anti-war poetry only became really well-known in the 60s and who was befriended and mentored by his poetry peer, Siegfried Sassoon, when they were in Craiglockhart War Hospital in 1917.
These are two poets that I do remember well from school and Anthem For Doomed Youth, one of his most famous poems, was also one of my favourites.
Owen was killed in action in November 1918 at the age of 25, only a week before the end of the war and his mother was told of his death a week later as celebrations rang out on the streets.
Pretty fucked up that the world really learned nowt from the horror stories of WWI and in 2008, war still rages on.
Here's Anthem For Doomed Youth just to get you in a cheery mood for the 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 now for them; no prayers nor 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 patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Strange that war is fought over either land ownership or religion, neither of which I care about that much - I rent and am an atheist.