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  #11  
Unread 04-16-2022, 04:57 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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I recall this moving meditation by Richard Eberhart that he read at UCLA during the Vietnam war:

The Fury of Aerial Bombardment

You would think the fury of aerial bombardment
Would rouse God to relent; the infinite spaces
Are still silent. He looks on shock-pried faces.
History, even, does not know what is meant.

You would feel that after so many centuries
God would give man to repent; yet he can kill
As Cain could, but with multitudinous will,
No farther advanced than in his ancient furies

Was man made stupid to see his own stupidity?
Is God by definition indifferent, beyond us all?
Is the eternal truth man's fighting soul
Wherein the Beast ravens in its own avidity?

Of Van Wettering I speak, and Averill,
Names on a list, whose faces I do not recall
But they are gone to early death, who late in school
Distinguished the belt feed lever from the belt holding pawl.


https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidax...582d4 0fd7b28
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Last edited by RCL; 04-16-2022 at 05:29 PM.
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  #12  
Unread 04-18-2022, 04:58 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Here's one of mine:

Big Picture

"She lived, you know." I'm speechless when I hear it.
Not at the news itself (which isn't new
to me––I watched a Kim Phúc interview
years ago) but at the lack of spirit
with which you toss this tidbit off. It's clear it
doesn't seem miraculous to you.
Considering the hellfire she went through,
I'm awed by her survival. I revere it.
But you're a cynic, free of such excesses.
So when I cite a few atrocities
that science has enabled, your blasé
"She lived, you know" apparently dismisses
napalm from my catalog of these.
You're unimpressed. I don't know what to say.


And here's one of Rose Kelleher's. Don't miss the author's note.
https://www.rattle.com/enlightenment-by-rose-kelleher/

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 04-21-2022 at 12:05 PM. Reason: Because poems are never finished, only abandoned....
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  #13  
Unread 04-19-2022, 11:33 AM
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Another I can't forget:

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

Randall Jarrell

From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
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  #14  
Unread 04-19-2022, 12:00 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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War Is Kind [excerpt]
Stephen Crane - 1871-1900

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

      Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment
      Little souls who thirst for fight,
      These men were born to drill and die
      The unexplained glory flies above them
      Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom--
      A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

      Swift, blazing flag of the regiment
      Eagle with crest of red and gold,
      These men were born to drill and die
      Point for them the virtue of slaughter
      Make plain to them the excellence of killing
      And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind.
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  #15  
Unread 04-19-2022, 07:43 PM
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Default Horrors of war

I don't have a horrors poem of my own, but my favorite is Alec Waugh's "Cannon Fodder", which I highly recommend. It's a little long to copy, but these are the last 3 verses, as he addresses the folks back home who "have not seen what death has made of him."

You have not seen the proud limbs mangled and broken,
The face of the lover sightless, raw and red.
You have not seen the flock of vermin swarming
Over the newly dead.

Slowly he'll rot in the place where no man dare go.
Silently over the night the stench of his carcase will flow.
Proudly the worms will be banqueting.
This you can never know.

He will live in your dreams forever as last you saw him,
Proud-eyed and clean, a man whom shame never knew.
Laughing, erect, with the strength of the wind in his manhood.
O broken-hearted mother, I envy you.
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  #16  
Unread 04-19-2022, 09:01 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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On a Corner of a Pixel

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. —Carl Sagan

I’ve a hunch the president (ex-prime minister),
whom the planet now thinks is at least as sinister
as The Joker, had never read “A Pale
Blue Dot” If he had, he couldn’t fail
to see himself in Sagan’s text,
his bureaucratic muscles flexed,
swooping raptorially on
his neighbor. What’s new? (Carl would yawn.)
Aiming to flatten, bomb, destroy,
cause havoc gives him serious joy:
the momentary master of
a fraction of a dot.
What love
he has for his fellows across the border!—
soon to zap them in short order.
Both young and old will gather, fight
and trounce the tyrant, as the light
of a trillion suns bombards the night.
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  #17  
Unread 04-20-2022, 11:12 AM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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August, 1965

The smallest and youngest came first
We could hear them before we could see them
A kilometer down from the grandstand
Out of sight past a rise in the road

We could hear them before we could see them
A kingdom of crickets was chirping
Out of sight past a rise in the road
The children were marching and chanting

A kingdom of crickets was chirping
We still could not quite understand them
The children were marching and chanting
We waited, like crows on a fence

We still could not quite understand them
The twentieth year since the sun burst
We waited, like crows on a fence
The marchers now almost upon us

The twentieth year since the sun burst
They have emptied the country of children
The marchers now almost upon us
Holding pennants and banners and chanting

They have emptied the country of children
Fifty thousand here marching this morning
Holding pennants and banners and chanting
“No more Hiroshima, no more…”

Fifty thousand here marching this morning
Through twisted and savaged gray concrete
“No more Hiroshima, no more…”
“No more Nagasaki, no more…”


Through twisted and savaged gray concrete
A kilometer down from the grandstand
“No more Nagasaki, no more…”
The smallest and youngest came first.


From Furusato. By pure coincidence I was in Hiroshima on the twentieth anniversary, and this is what I experienced.

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 04-20-2022 at 11:15 AM.
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  #18  
Unread 04-20-2022, 11:33 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Fully understood.
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  #19  
Unread 04-20-2022, 01:35 PM
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Childhood recall:

Wars Hot and Cold

I watch my father’s mustache twitch.
He winces at Life’s photographs
of Yalta, grinning Joseph Stalin
darkly evil. Dad’s head nods no.

It’s ’45, the world’s relieved,
but Dad thinks Russia is and will be
our nation’s greatest enemy.
At church, we pray they’ll be converted.

We practice ducking under desks
at school, in fear of war with Russia—
George Orwell guesses we might perish
from bombs like those that won the war.
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  #20  
Unread 04-20-2022, 01:42 PM
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Too Much Sky (July 1944)

That was the day when there was too much sky.
Nobody came to get her out of bed
and when she went by herself to the window
yesterday’s everything had disappeared.

Everybody was busy and shouting
and when at last the feet came on the stairs
something inside insisted she should run
across the room and jump back into bed.

Someone came in and sat down quietly
and said the little boy across the road
wouldn’t be coming over for a while.
He and his Mum had had to go away.

He wanted her, they said, to have Blue Bear
to keep for him. But Blue Bear had got wet
although it wasn’t raining and he smelt
of the fireplace first thing in the morning.

Alone again, she went back to the window.
How odd of Raymond, when he went away,
to take his house with him but leave Blue Bear.
She didn’t like that there was too much sky.
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