Monday, May 25, 2020

Quote of the Day (Marjorie Pickthall, on the ‘Marching Men’ of WWI)

“With souls unpurged and steadfast breath
They supped the sacrament of death.
And for each one, far off, apart,
Seven swords have rent a woman’s heart.”—Canadian poet Marjorie Pickthall (1883-1922), “Marching Men,” from The Wood Carver's Wife (1922)

Remember those lines this Memorial Day, and beyond—along with this one, from Herman Wouk’s novel War and Remembrance: “Either war is finished, or we are.”

(The image accompanying this post shows a grim, agonized Kirk Douglas, knowing his men face certain death, in Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory. That 1957 film showed, in less poetic terms than Ms. Pickthall’s verses, the immense, lacerating sacrifice of soldiers in WWI—indeed, implicitly, of all wars.)

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