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Waste

by James Graham 

Posted: 23 March 2003
Word Count: 191
Summary: I'd like to see what the group thinks of this anti-war poem written in the last few days.


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I'd like to see what the group thinks of this anti-war poem written in the last few days. Like other things I've done recently, it contains almost no original language. If anything makes it a poem, it has to be the selection and arrangement. A brief note: everyone probably knows something about triage, but military triage is a little different - priority is given to those who can be returned to some sort of duty (perhaps to be finished off properly second time around). There are always those whose lives could be saved in normal life, in a normal hospital, but who are given only palliative care (i.e. allowed to die) under the military triage system, because they would take up resources needed for those saveable for duty. I won't explain any more, maybe no more is needed.

I may have a poem in response to Jibunnessa's topic 'Pivotal Moments', but won't upload it just now but wait instead to see if other group members come up with something.

James.



Waste

1

Marine Joe Brown

non-priority
major trauma

triage category
blue/black

(not saveable
for further duty)

spiritual comfort
palliative care

2

Cheesey Hoops
Marine Joe Brown
original and best
original and best

mouthwatering, crunchy
blood and bone

binbag
bodybag
dustbin
casket
dustcart
hearse

landfill
memorial garden.








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Comments by other Members



Anna Reynolds at 00:19 on 27 March 2003  Report this post
I loved this. It should be enough to stop war all by itself but failing that, it's a heartstopping poem in it';s own right. The rhythym and structure remind me of a piece of music that defies the usual logic we expect--- the notes are in unusual places and make us think twice. Gorgeous.

R-Poet at 11:55 on 27 March 2003  Report this post
I also like it, especially because I like 'juxtaposition' poetry.

Wouldn't want to amend this poem, but it got me wondering if there's also another poem possible, with the same structure, perhaps beginning with being blown to bits on a battlefield (or equivalent) and then converging, ie both terminate at 'landfill', to bring home the futility. (But perhaps that's been done before?)

Steve

James Graham at 12:54 on 29 March 2003  Report this post
An idea I might follow up. Just the kind of idea I'm looking for at the moment. Another juxtaposition that's possible is between a victim killed in war and a murder victim, i.e. victims of legal and illegal murder. There's a brief image (among others) in one account of the bombing of Laos and Cambodia, of a Cambodian soldier sitting by the roadside saying over and over: 'They killed them all! All my family are dead!' Nixon and Kissinger killed his family, but not in quite the same way as Brady and Hindley killed their victims. But are the correspondences more telling than the differences?

James.

poemsgalore at 18:48 on 13 May 2003  Report this post
An excellent poem, really brings home to you the fruitlessness of war and that it is just a waste of precious lives.

frencher at 09:03 on 21 May 2003  Report this post
Bloody lovely. And bloody and lovely. Terse, sparse and unencumbered. You should be happy with this and I imagine you are.

Couple of things I would have done had it been mine: insert a stanza to go between the two existing - I think first part of this new stanza would link with the language and image of the first, ie. the dispensibility of the marine couched in military terminology; while, in the second part, introduce the juxtaposition concept found in your original second stanza. As it stands, for me, there's a gap, a vacuum if you will, of form between your two stanzas.

But then I always was too symmetrical.

Oh, and I would dump the italics. The juxtapositions themselves speak volumes. You don't need font to amplify them.

My first comments posting, this. Hope you don't consider it intrusive. Actually, I think it helped me more than it would help you.
Is that the deal here?

Frencher :)

Ally at 09:15 on 21 May 2003  Report this post
Very vivid, very telling. It says a huge amount in just a few words. I don't think an extra stanza is required, it seems to me that it says everything it needs to.

Adam at 12:56 on 18 June 2003  Report this post
James,

This is a very intersting poem. I like the way you seem to have drawn an analogy of Joe Brown's transient life from the debris of modern society. The second section in particular, in which you juxtapose parallels is very deftly done. Although disjointed, a structure which nicely reflects the subject matter, there is definitely a sense of rhthym itching to break free.

The final line, however, seems to lack the pithy interjections of all the other analogous parallels (casket, hearse, etc) and may be better off as a single mono-syllable (e.g. 'grave'). Also, perhaps a linguistic signifier (such as a wordplay) may help. Although this can be crass in the wrong hands, it may help to link the two parallels you're trying to draw - a word like 'perishable' perhaps? Nevertheless, well structured and well written: well done!

Adam

James Graham at 19:48 on 20 June 2003  Report this post
Many thanks to all for your comments. Adam, you draw attention to the last line, and I think you may be right. 'Memorial garden' was (I think) meant to convey a certain pretentiousness in the human equivalent of landfill, but I don't after all think it works very well, and 'grave' - though it seems an obvious last line - is in keeping with the rest of the poem. This is unpublished as yet, but if I do publish it I think I'll make that simple change. Frencher, the italics could go, except this is now one of a short series of poems in a similar style, and in one or two others the two sides of the juxtapositions are less easily distinguished and so in these I feel italics are still needed. So, to keep things consistent I keep the italics. I've left it rather long to respond to your comments, and I hope you won't have given up.

James.


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