Sean O’Casey: The dead of wars past clasp their colder arms around the newer dead
From Drums Under the Windows (1946)
If one only knew, he thought, there’s a helluva lot of moaning in the world today; and it would grow; grow till the common people came to themselves. Humanity’s music would be sad as ever, but it wouldn’t remain silent much longer. New thoughts were being born, not only in a cry, but in smoke, flame, and cannon-fire. Half the Christian world had just discovered that the other half no longer deserved to live. The slime, the bloodied mud, the crater and the shell-hole had become God’s Kingdom here on earth. Deep trenches led to the delectable mountains…In every ravine, on every hill, through every golden cornfield tens of thousands of Irish wriggled and twisted to death, their dimming eyes dazzled by the flame from a scarlet poppy, their dulling ears shocked by the lilting notes from a rising lark. The ghosts of them who fell at Dettigen, Fontenoy, and Waterloo were clasping their colder arms around the newer dead.