Home > Uncategorized > William J. Locke: Life in its fullness and glory, war’s orgies of horror

William J. Locke: Life in its fullness and glory, war’s orgies of horror

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

William J. Locke: Following war

William J. Locke: I’m good at killing things, I ought to have been a soldier

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William J. Locke
From The Usurper

This was one of the rare occasions on which he spoke of his fighting experiences. It excited and exhausted him. To his sensitive temperament war had meant orgies of horror. He had sung of life in its fullness and glory, had regarded the idea of death with passionate resentment. War had already familiarized his nerves with peril which he had faced like many thousands of brave and commonplace comrades. But the bright spirit insistent on life had grown deadly sick at the slaughter and disease. Even now in the peaceful garden he could not free himself from the nightmare. He shrank from speaking of it. His infrequent illusions came from the depths.

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“Oh, God, man! I’ve been through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I’ve seen life in its utter nakedness….I have bayoneted through the body a fresh blue-eyed lad whom I could have loved like a brother – I see his lips now….”

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