1 July 2016 marks 100 years since the Battle of the Somme.
The horror and lasting effects of the battle cannot be exaggerated. With over 1.6 million casualties the Somme stands as a symbol of the folly, the vanity and the stupidity that drove the First World War. It was a battle which resulted in millions dead, the decimation of families and the scarring of a continent.
Wilfred Owen, a survivor of the battle, captured the horror in his poem Dulce et Decorum est, a draft of which is pictured above and currently on display in our Treasury gallery. He sarcastically dedicates the poem to Jessie Pope, a pro-war poet.
The poem’s closing lines, Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, are taken from a Latin poem by Horace of the 1st century BCE. It means:
it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country
Wilfred Owen argues that if you were to have witnessed what he had seen – men, poisoned by gas, blood ‘gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud…’, then:
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.
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How’s it going?
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Western Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus), McGee Creek, Eastern Sierra, 2016-06-30
This is a male, flashing his blue throat.
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Whitney’s Locoweed (Astragalus whitneyi), McGee Creek, Eastern Sierra, 2016-06-30
Eventually those inflated seed pods dry out, turn gold, and blow away, breaking apart to release the plant’s seeds in a new location.
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McGee Creek, Mono, California, US
Jun 30, 2016 11:04 AM – 12:10 PM
Turkey Vulture 1
Red-breasted Sapsucker 2
Warbling Vireo 1
Black-billed Magpie 1
Common Raven 2
House Wren 1
American Robin 1
European Starling 1
Yellow Warbler 4
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Green-tailed Towhee 6
Black-headed Grosbeak 1
Lazuli Bunting 1
Brewer’s Blackbird 1
Bullock’s Oriole 2
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Heart Lake cabin
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Mountain Pride (Penstemon newberryi) was John Muir’s favorite flower. I came upon a small patch of them on a rocky outcrop on the trail to Heart Lake.
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