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Somewhere On The Earth Tonight

by Zettel 

Posted: 18 September 2013
Word Count: 128

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Somewhere On The Earth Tonight

Somewhere on the Earth tonight
new life cries
as its journey just begins
elsewhere old life dies

Somewhere on the Earth tonight
someone kills
stealing hopes from other lives
obeying alien wills

Somewhere on the Earth tonight
hunger gnaws
sapping life from children’s souls
paying for our grown-up wars

Somewhere on the Earth tonight
Gods at war
inspire hatred fear and death
deaf to reason’s cry – no more

Somewhere on the Earth tonight
Dylan sings
laying bare the cant and lies
in his voice hard truth rings

Somewhere out in space tonight
we could see
shrinking icecaps rotting streams
the paradox of being free

Everywhere on Earth tonight
my brothers sisters sleep
peaceful thoughts but troubled dreams
my brother…our world…we must keep

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 20:10 on 19 September 2013  Report this post
Hello again, Zettel. It’s been a long time! Good to hear from you. I’m impressed - not for the first time - by the way you take on broad themes and say something really worth saying, using the simplest language.

This poem takes on war in general (second verse) and religious war in particular (fourth verse), as well as poverty and climate change. I don’t know if you were aware of our ‘assignment’ in the group, to write a poem about world issues - but this certainly fits in.

I like your verse about Dylan. It’s implicit in the verse that Dylan is an important voice in the context of world issues, and I agree. However, I think the verse could be improved.

of love and hate hard truth brings

doesn’t quite make sense to me. I would suggest changing the two lines to a form something like

Dylan sings
against the (something) and lies
in his voice the hard truth rings

That ‘something’ could be a number of things, to do with greed for power, or ambition, or hypocrisy, or deceit. ‘And lies’ isn’t even necessary in the line; you could fill it with one of the ideas just mentioned.

I’d suggest two other changes. First, ‘stealing hopes and other ends’ - I don’t really know what you mean by ‘other ends’. Well, other things people look forward to? The word ‘ends’ tends to be found in pejorative contexts, someone conspiring to achieve harmful ends. ‘Stealing hopes and aspirations’? You may think of a better alternative.

Finally, for me the very last line is crying out to become

my brother...our world...let us keep

Some of the best lines, which I quote because they can all be unpacked and shown to mean something more complex than the language at first suggests:

obeying alien wills

meaning war has nothing to do with the ordinary men sent into battle, that the motives for war are those of their ‘leaders’, and their leaders are a different class of humanity who couldn’t care less about the men they send to their deaths. (Democratically elected leaders not necessarily excluded.)

paying for our grown-up wars

- a whole book could be written - probably has been - on how resources needed to alleviate world poverty are diverted into military spending.

Gods at war

meaning people who are persuaded that their version of God is right and all others are wrong. The enemy believes the same of their version.

All of which adds up to a fine poem. It’s like the voice of Everyman.


Zettel at 01:42 on 20 September 2013  Report this post

As ever - thanks for the time and the thoughtful comments. I agree and have adjusted accordingly. Hope you approve.

I think your last line's ok: 'keep' here refers to the saying "I am not my brother's keeper" and the poem says I should be but I guess it works ok to move from 'I' to 'we' and retains the reference.



James Graham at 15:52 on 21 September 2013  Report this post
Your new last line is better than your old one, and better than the one I suggested! Surprising how a tiny change can make all the difference. Fine tuning.

I like your other revisions; they remove all minor stumbles from the poem.

Would you like to comment on some of the current poems in the group?


Zettel at 01:15 on 23 September 2013  Report this post
Thanks James

Point taken - but I'm not very good at it.



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