Hands on brush and pallet tightening,
Ready eyes dissect the hills.
Taking aim, he strikes as lightning,
Carving deep, with studied skills.
Dashing streaks of leaden colour
Flash across the canvas bare.
Abstract lines of gallant valour
Pierce the flesh and slice the air.
Random arcs of crimson, spraying,
On the verdant backdrop fall.
Peppered strokes of fire weighing
On the artist’s tortured soul.
Fingers grip the cold steel trigger,
Gritting teeth and shoulders braced,
Sits the gunner’s tragic figure
Spitting shells as bullets raced.
Dripping sweat on greasy flannels,
Roaring rattle bursts the ear.
Drawing strength from mystic channels,
Praying, now, in silent fear.
Thankless is the art of killing,
Filling frames with grieving doom.
Bitter hearts of gunners willing,
Hang theirs in some secret room.
In the poem Artwork, I try to create an extended metaphor between the abstract artist and the machine gunner. The ground for this comparison is in the act of execution but the artwork of the gunner is exhibited privately in the secret, bitter gallery of his soul. The trochaic tetrameter used in epic poetry (such as the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala and the Greek national anthem, Hymn to Freedom by Dionysus Solomou) is adopted here rather cynically to give an air of pomp. I hope you enjoy it.