Response to the question of why people aren`t writing any war poetry
by Paul Isthmus
Posted: 23 April 2007
Word Count: 341
Summary: Version 2
I haven't been to war.
This morning I made love. The world is made
of tiny things,
her touch, our toast and cups of tea,
that first fresh breath as I step outside,
the old church, the sun, the swaying tree.
I don't want to write about the war
this early morning, when the house is quiet
and the world hasn't begun. I want to write about
- the way the cool, hazy mist
curves off the earth. I want to write about
that moment all the other ones define,
that moment I remember
when I remember making love.
What have I to say about the war?
The war is old news, my love is fresh.
Sun on the old church, across the green fields,
through its stained glass windows, dull from outside,
quiet font water reflecting on the roof.
The war's a new war, bombs are new bombs.
I watch the news again.
As I lift my cup
I see a tiny thing, a baby's body
coddled in hot dust and rags,
I hear a string of tiny words
with tiny meanings that I don't understand
but only feel, that together try to frame
the act of something bigger.
I hear a war of words, like bullets shooting down
Saddam's hanging, and the breaking of his neck
and all the talk talk talk, the news
of broken mosques, the Berlin church collapse,
a bomb still in the belly of the earth, left from years ago.
Then it’s the weather, early mists breaking into sun,
Then some local piece about someone’s happy day
that should seem silly when I compare it to
those bloody rags, a poor effort to offset the war,
deep as a giggle, light as air,
offensive in its cheerfulness.
Is war not made of old stone and earth,
the weight of a library
crushing your chest like a bombed house?
How can it yield to this quiet morning,
to the breath of love that drives our histories,
to the beating of a pair of hearts?
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