This is the final stanza of the poem by the mighty, Wilfred Owen, Dulce Est Decorum Est, written circa 1917.
It is stark and hauntingly beautiful, and encapsulates for me the filth and the futility of armed conflict. I urge you to read it in its entirety and to marvel at the great man’s passion and dexterity with words. For you see, he knew what it was to experience the sudden panic of blindness, and to feel the invisible hands of mustard gas at his throat, slowly choking the life from his body.
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.