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Wrong Poet

June 30, 1985

William Pfaff (Opinion, June 16) is right in alerting us to the history of fallacious arguments used to enter war "lightly." But he's got his poets wrong.

Wilfred Owen, who died in combat in the last days of World War I, should be credited with the simile that war is "obscene as cancer." The lines Pfaff incorrectly attributes to Rupert Brooke are from Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est." In that poem, Owen vividly describes the horrors of war and insists we not tell youth "ardent for some desperate glory" that old lie--that it is "sweet and fitting to die for one's country."

I read Owen's poem to my sons at least once a month.

MELINDA BARTH

Rancho Palos Verdes

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