I started watching the show Boardwalk Empire when I was still living with my parents in Arizona (over a year ago), as they had free HBO for awhile. I saw the first couple of episodes and liked it, but my family moved and I forgot about it. Then I borrowed the DVD of Season 1 from the library. I will admit, it only took re-watching those episodes I had seen before to get me completely hooked. I’ve already made it through Season 1 and have just picked up Season 2 from the library. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, Boardwalk Empire is a show about Atlantic City in the year 1920. As with most HBO shows (i.e. Game of Thrones and Rome), it is packed with sex, violence and some intriguing storylines. My hubby likes to call it my “1920’s porn show. It is, according to the HBO webpage, about: “Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson, (Steve Buscemi), a political fixer and backroom dealer,  is equal parts politician and gangster and equally comfortable in either role. Because of its strategic location on the seaboard, the town is a hub of activity for rum-runners, minutes from Philadelphia, hours from New York City and a day’s drive from Chicago. And Nucky Thompson takes full advantage. Nucky has carved out a niche for himself as the man to see for any illegal alcohol. He is an equal opportunity gangster, doing business with Arnold Rothstein (who was the man behind the 1919 World Series fix between the White Sox and the Reds), Lucky Luciano, Al Capone, and Johnny Torrio (Chicago gangster who was one of the founders of organized crime in the US).” Thompson employs Jimmy, a WWI vet who hasn’t quite shaken the effects of the war but isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. The story is also about Margaret Schroeder, an Irish immigrant who meets Mr. Thompson at a Women’s Temperance meeting and their futures are intertwined. Plus you’ve got the great fashion (at least on the rich), and fabulous early jazz. As it is Prohibition, and Nucky and his associates are obviously breaking the law, they are being investigated by Government Revenue Agent Nelson Van Alden. It’s kind of weird, but I really like Steve Buscemi as an actor, who I was first introduced through the movies Fargo and Con-Air. I can’t quite decide if I want to like Nucky or not. I mean, in some cases, he is a ruthless business man and gangster, but then you feel sorry for him and his past history with his wife. And I at least want Margaret Schroeder to find some happiness, though not sure who that is with.

The poem that I have selected today is rather appropriate, as Jimmy, one of the main characters of Boardwalk Empire, is a WWI veteran. I’ve actually heard of this poem before, but never read it.

Dulce et Decorum Est

by Wilfred Owen
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
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.