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Thursday, 2 October 2014

Pro Patria Mori

This Latin song title challenge is turning out to be difficult. I suspect if I was into Metal I'd be alright- I have a feeling metal bands give their songs Latin titles quite often.

Ian McCulloch digs me out of a hole today with a track from his 2012 solo album Holy Ghosts, a fine record full of sweeping strings and that voice, with nods to the 80s but here in the present. Julian Cope, as has been well documented, is not a fan. In a recent interview he described McCulloch's career as the universe having a hiccup. A bit unkind Julian.

Pro Patria Mori

The two disc edition of Holy Ghosts came with some good orchestral versions of solo and Bunnymen songs recorded live at the Union Chapel, worth shelling out on if you're a fan. The title comes, obviously, from Wilfred Owen's famous poem Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori.

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 
And towards our distant rest 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, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, 
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; 
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, 
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . . 
Dim, through the misty panes 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, 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 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.


Jimbo said...

Thank you for posting Wilfred Owen's poem. I have trouble focusing on poetry; particularly a book of poetry or, worse, an anthology. But reading a poem every now and then, in isolation, is just right. And this is a powerful one.

Echorich said...

You had me in a tizzy there for a moment SA. I forgot that McCulloch re-released Pro Patria Mori with the live offering as Holy Ghosts. There are some very poignant tracks on PPM/HG that his previous solo offerings lacked. As with the past couple Bunnymen albums, I think McCulloch has come to terms with his age and life.