World War I remembered in poetry at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) - United Nations envoys are commemorating World War I with personal renditions of chosen works of poetry.

Fourteen ambassadors have recorded readings from their countries for a special exhibit that opened Monday at UN headquarters in New York, marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the “war to end all wars.”

The readings are of works from Europe but also feature some from South Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant chose Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum est,” about a gas attack, while US envoy Samantha Power reads Alan Seeger’s “I Have a RendezVous with Death.”

Russia’s Vitaly Churkin, who contributed a picture of his grandfather who served as an artilleryman in the war, provides a rendition of Nikolai Gumilev’s “Assault.”

France’s Gerard Araud, meanwhile, recites “War and What Followed” by Louis Aragon.

Indian Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji delivers heart-felt verses from “The Gitanjali” by Nobel literature winner Rabindranath Tagore: “When I go from hence let this be my parting word, that what I have seen is unsurpassable.”

The World War I exhibit opened during a busy time at the United Nations – the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, the ongoing fighting in Syria, the flareups in Iraq and Libya and the unrest in east Ukraine.

The ambassadors recorded their poetry readings last month and guests to the exhibit can listen to their renditions by scanning a QR code.

The poems can also be heard from afar on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/