Words, puffs of expelled air
Against the fires of wars.    
  Who can hear
  The whispers of peace
Cannons, rockets, drowning out    
  Hushed reason.

We praise the wounded soldier,
For that suffices
To justify the mangled bodies.
We mourn the dead in battle
Rescuing our bruised conscience
From the abyss of whys
Of our insane pastime.
Rush headlong,
Bettering our bombs
Improving our weapons,
Shed, while checking army contracts,
A superfluous tear
For those … less fortunate
Then conclude our business
And cheer on the troops.

A. de Paoli


7 Responses to “Wars”

  1. 1 Lenore December 13, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    BRavo. We wring our hands and moan, but that’s shallow compared to the real suffering. Marvellous the first two lines about the puffs of air against the fires of war. Frustrating concept though: if our words won’t work against the way, what will?

  2. 2 confab2007 December 14, 2007 at 9:53 am

    Unjust wars are wrong. But violence and war can also be justified under certain circumstances, just as the police is justified in using power and violence against the unjust. With war we can promote the unjust. But it also serves as the necessary means to counter the unjust if all peaceful options fail.

  3. 3 Borja December 15, 2007 at 5:17 am

    I think wars are justified only when we can make money out of them. In Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Corea, Irak, Palestina…

    Then conclude our business
    And cheer on the troops.

    Feliz Navidad!

  4. 4 Lenore December 15, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    To rectify: we need words, lots of words (that’s why we’re poets) first. But sometimes… At the time of the first Iraq war, I realized that if I had to kill to defend myself, my loved ones, i reluctantly would. And of course the same is true for states. But states get bogged down in the self-perpetuation quagmire of war.

  5. 5 uspoetsabroad December 16, 2007 at 7:15 am

    Would anyone not kill to defend oneself or one’s family? Assuming one were driven past the point of no return? It seems trite to say that war is justified only when it makes money. Money, in this sentence,stands for pure evil. The reality is always more complex. Pseudo-Marxism can no longer suffice to explain the world!

  6. 6 confab2007 December 17, 2007 at 10:41 am

    Wars are justified in moral terms by immoral politicians to garner support from the masses. In reality they only serve themselves over the masses to promote power and self-prestige. Answering the question “who stands to gain from the Iraq war the most?” makes this crystal clear.

  7. 7 Borja December 18, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Marxism? No, Imperialism. Fear and rejection to other cultures.

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Contrasting Views

"Literalism is a feature of boorish translators." Cicero "The clumsiest literal translation is a thousand times more useful than the prettiest paraphrase." Nabokov

The Faerie Queene

"John Ashbery said reading the Faerie Queene was like reading an endless beautiful comic strip." Kenneth Koch

Sigmund Freud

"Everywhere I go, I find a poet has been there before me."


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