An ecstasy of fumbling

When I first heard this expression it had an immediate impact. But not in any profound anti-war way, it described a delicious part of my teenage years. And Wilfred Owen is more deserving of respect then my remembrances, but they were my memories of stroking mammeries. And if that sounds pervy it probably is but the ecstasy of fumbling defined those years. I would hope that the recipients of the ecstatic fumblings would concur.


But the poem, DULCE ET DECORUM EST, this is the piece which I believe every leader should be forced to learn by heart and then be tested repeatedly to make sure that they never forget or loose sight of the bloody foam coming from the mouth of the mustard gas poisoned soldier. And that gargling sound from the froth corrupted lungs, our leaders should have that on a loop to be listened to between meetings. That cunt Bush and his lap dog Blair/Brown, they have never read this poem for if they had, they would never have persued their wars. I defy anyone, any scumbag on the planet, who truly understands these beautiful words to ever harm anyone.


I loved those girls, but I loved their complicated bra clip more. The single handed bra opening was perfected in another life, my ecstatic fumblings continued and when eventually a relationship happened and the girl removed her own bra, well I sorta lost interest.   


Here’s Wilfred’s poem,



Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, 
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, 
Till on the haunting flares2 we turned our backs 
And towards our distant rest3 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 tired, outstripped5 Five-Nines6 that dropped behind.

Gas!7 Gas! Quick, boys! –  An ecstasy of fumbling, 
Fitting the clumsy helmets8 just in time; 
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, 
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime9 . . . 
Dim, through the misty panes10 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,11 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 cud12 
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, 
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest13 
To children ardent14 for some desperate glory, 
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est 
Pro patria mori.15

8 October 1917 – March, 1918


One response to “An ecstasy of fumbling

  1. omg i dont understand anything about this poem im only 16 years old and i go to avondale college, we’re studying this poem and i really need help so i’d really like it if you could explain this poem to me, and what kind of language features you used etc…thank

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