Alexander Averin

Sunday 11 November 2007


Dear Diary

My thought for the Day
11th November 2007

Racism is a Weapon of Mass Destruction
Faithless lyrics

Here are some Poems about War and Peace written by poets from all over the world.

Juan Lopez and John Ward

It was their luck to be born into a strange time.
The planet had been parceled out among various countries, each

one provided with loyalties, cherished memories, with a past
undoubtedly heroic, with rights, with wrongs, with a particular
mythology, with bronze forefathers, with anniversaries, with
demagogues and symbols.

This arbitrary division was favorable for wars.

Lopez was born in the city beside the tawny river; Ward, on the

outskirts of the city where Father Brown walked. He had
studied Spanish in order to read Quijote.

The other one professed a love for Conrad, who had been revealed

to him in a classroom on Viamonte Street.

They might have been friends, but they saw each other face to

face only once, on some overly famous islands, and each one of

them was Cain, and each was Abel.

They were buried together. Snow and corruption know them.
The incident I mention occurred in a time that we cannot understand.

by Jorge Luis Borges
Argentina (1899-1986)

General, your tank is a powerful vehicle.
It smashes down forests and crushes men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver

General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm

and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.

by Bertolt Brecht


Harry Wilmans

I was just turned twenty-one,
And Henry Phipps, the Sunday-school superintendent,
Made a speech in Bindle's Opera House.
"The honor of the flag must by upheld," he said,
"Whether it be assailed by a barbarous tribe of Tagalogs
Or the greatest power in Europe."
And we cheered and cheered the speech and the flag he waved
As he spoke.
And I went to the war in spite of my father,
And followed the flag till I saw it raised
By our camp in a rice field near Manila,
And all of us cheered and cheered it.
But there were flies and poisonous things;
And there was deadly water,
And the cruel heat,
And the sickening, putrid food;
And the smell of the trench just back of the tents
Where the soldiers went to empty themselves;
And there were the whores who followed us, full of syphilis;
And beastly acts between ourselves or alone,
With bullying, hatred, degredation among us,
And days of loathing and nights of fear
To the hour of the charge through the steaming swamp,
Following the flag,
Till I fell with a scream, shot through the guts.
Now there's a flag over me in Spoon River!
A flag! A flag!

by Edgar Lee Masters
USA (1868-1950)

Dulce et Decorum Est

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.

by Wilfred Owen
Britain (1893-1918)

They speak of the art of war,
but the arts
draw their light from the soul’s well,
and warfare
dries up the soul and draws its power
from a dark and burning wasteland.
When Leonardo
set his genius to devising
machines of destruction he was not
acting in the service of art,
he was suspending
the life of art
over an abyss,
as if one were to hold
a living child out of an airplane window
at thirty thousand feet.
by Denise Leverton

Speaking: The Hero
I did not want to go.
They inducted me.
I did not want to die.
They called me yellow.
I tried to run away.
They courtmartialed me.
I did not shoot.
They said I had no guts.
I cried in pain.
They carried me to safety.
In safety I died.
They blew taps over me.
They crossed out my name
And buried me under a cross.
They made a speech in my home town.
I was unable to call them liars.
They said I gave my life.
I had struggled to keep it.
They said I set an example
I had tried to run.
They said they were proud of me.
I had been ashamed of them.
They said my mother should be proud.
My mother cried.
I wanted to live.
They called me a coward.
I died a coward.
They called me a hero.
by Felix Pollak

This is the field where the battle did not happen,
where the unknown soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
where no monument stands,
and the only heroic thing is the sky.
Birds fly here without any sound,
unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed – or were killed – on this ground
hollowed by the neglect of an air so tame
that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.
by William Stafford
USA (1914-1993)

Give Back Peace
Give back father, give back mother,
Give back grandpa, give back grandma,
Give back boys, give back girls.
Give me back myself, give me back men
Linked to me.
As long as men live as men,
Give back peace,
Peace that never crumbles.
by Sankichi Toge
Japan (1917-1953)

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won't
straighten themselves up, after all.
Someone has to push the rubble
to the sides of the road,
so the corpse-laden wagons can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone must drag in a girder
to prop up a wall.
Someone must glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it's not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

Again we'll need bridges
and new railway stations.

Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.
Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls how it was.
Someone listens
and nods with unsevered head.
Yet others milling about
already find it dull.

From behind the bush
sometimes someone still unearths
rust-eaten arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must give way to
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass which has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out,
blade of grass in his mouth,
gazing at the clouds.

Wizlowa Mborska

A Polish poet

She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996. She died in 2002, at the age of 101.


War is our hardened hearts,
war is our sickened stomachs
war is the Devil’s laughing eyes.
For so often are we near the edge
that when Evil may betray us
into Satan’s den we stray.
So easily unresisting and sheep-like.
Taking the easy way,
the path of least resistance,
crossing the thin line that we humans oftimes tread,
into all manner of cruelty and sinfulness.

Cait O'Connor

Bye for now,

Go mbeannai Dia duit

God Bless,



Westerwitch/Headmistress said...

Brings it all home - we forget too easily - it doesn't seem real . . .

Casdok said...

Your right WW.
So thank you for this lovely post.

Norma Murray said...

Thank you for the poems. So apt for today.

@themill said...

We chose the same name for our posts today. Wonderfully creative and very moving, Cait. Thank you

CAMILLA said...

Dear Cait,

Each Poem is beautifully said, and strikes a chord in our hearts. Thank you for this creative moving blog Cait.


Sam Fox said...

Cait, thank you for all the effort you put into that post. Very moving. There is no glory in war only devastation and suffering.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

wonderfu poems Cait. I loved the one about the field where no one died and the one about clearing up after war.
just marvellous, thank you.
also thanks for your comment on my post about Christmas. It's interesting how many of us feel the same!

Suffolkmum said...

Fabulous and eloquent poetry. Says it all.

Pipany said...

I so love War Literature Cait; it provides that space to stop and imagine, and give thanks xx

DJ Kirkby said...

Faithless! One of my favorite bands! I love the song 'Miss u less, c u more' as well as 'Mass destruction' on that CD. Beautiful post.