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In the wake of the World Trade Centre, and before going to War

I have watched the habits of men: seen how
They articulate all that is best in them;
Spread it across screens, write books and now
Talk up the justice of war, no words can stem
Their great belief in their absolute right –
This is their world and they call all the shots,
An easy land where simple answers lie
That lead them in their morality to fight,
And ultimately for their good to die,

And if not die then ultimately to kill,
Perhaps in far off, distant, arid lands
Where your blood, their blood, is easy to spill
And where the bullet cancels, changes plans.
It is not easy seeing all these fools
Reap the whirlwind of a war they fought before
Going into battle, fought long since when
Their minds were young and easy bent, mere tools,
And habits pushed in, unchallenged, then

Became their reality. But why care ?
A foreign war amounts to nothing much,
And who is bothered whether it is fair ?
Ah! Great deeds and all that dumb nonsense, such
Is the conviction of good, producing
Death in spades, a battalion of evils,
The dismal rampaging of gung-ho fools
Carrying out highly trained unthinking
In minds accustomed to their clear, good rules.

But wait! This is no foreign war – it’s here!
The mind balks, throws strange fits, decides how to cope,
Recoils in abject, blatant, baffled fear,
Looks round for even the tiniest hope
And finds it in screenfuls of gods, newspapers,
A history that spells out how ‘our way’
Was always best, how freedom’s evil foil
Was always war, and explains how capers
Such as this are a nation’s undeserved toil

Where right, allied with might, will prove the victor
In a war against the forces of darkness:
Such are the painted mirrors we use to picture
Our lives, the illusions that the ‘blessed’
Surround themselves with from birth, the unthinking
Tourniquets to open minds applied so long
That all that’s left is a withered ability
To listen, and none to hear, a linking
Of the past and certainty, of how strong

We were, to the future and all that’s weak:
Some great circle here, some cycle we must break …
But I am full of fear, that few will seek
To knock down old walls that must surely take
Great effort: forgive me my disbelief,
But it is easier to lash out than face
Unpalatable truths, simpler to shut
Out cause and effect and focus on grief
And righteous anger than be forced to put

The world in grim perspective. So let’s sigh,
And bend our minds to war: not to the fight –
Though poison will soon spread that battle-cry,
Some ‘with-us-or-against-us’ lack of sight –
But to a dull acceptance, a despair,
Of the inevitable foolishness
Our primitive ragings will lead us to.
Time, for those who see the dark, to prepare
For tumult and tides, and trying to live true.

Oct. 2001

Time to prepare for bad times, and to fight against dull acceptance and despair.

1 Comment     0 Pings

By brenda Tue Apr 28th 2009 at 5:42 am  

your poem says to a reader keep reading. you rock keep writing and i will learn from you

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