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War
Started by a single shot
No good or evil
Only humans

People
Stricken by fear
Ordered to fight
No matter how bad it got

Music
Sung by one side
Then the other
Soon everyone sings

Peace
For just one night
A truce struck without generals
A decision made by soldiers

Magic
It's real
This is what it looks like
On World War I and the Christmas Armistice
Two                      Men
Two                     Sides
One                     Goal
Protect                Home
Screams              Heard
Tears­                    Falling
Men                      Dying
Flags ­                   Waving
The                       Trenches

Bombs                  Exploding
Two                   ­    Men
Have                     Courage
Venturing             Across
No-Man's           Land
Meeting                in
             the middle
               To save
                  The
               Creature
                In need
Walking                 Back
Resuming              War
Their                      Treaty
­Soon                       Forgotten
By                           All
But                          The
Two                         Men
Inspired by the movie 'War Horse.'
Sharon Talbot Dec 2018
Old Harold lived on the second floor
In a darkened room with an old locked door.
My cousins and I used to tease him there,
And he’d chase us out, give us a scare.
I didn’t know exactly who  he was,
“He’s a mean old man,” said my favorite cos’.
“Grandma let him live here after Grandpa died.
She doesn’t even like him and we don’t know why.”
When he was out we would take a peek.
Around the ocher walls and his bed we’d sneak.
There was nothing but an iron bunk
And a glass-front chest filled with lots of junk.
One day Old Harold must have complained
About our pestering…we really were pains!
But no parent’s lecture could keep us away.
And Grandma’s yelling at him not to stay.

Old Uncle Harold disappeared for years.
We would make up stories for littler ears.
But one day my father had news of him.
He lived with “a harlot” and his checks she’d skim.
I was old enough to know what it meant
And asked Dad why uncle Harold seemed bent.
“He was gassed in the War in a field at Verdun.”
Dad told me in a tone that left me stunned;
“And was then sent around to pick up the dead.
With the gas and the horror, his mind just went.”

Now I recalled all the times we had teased
And agonized him when we should have pleased.
But now it was too late to apologize,
He was so lost, he wouldn’t recognize
His grown tormentors, when he hardly
Knew my father, the kindly mentor,
Who visited him every week,
Who paid for anything to make him last,
And reminded him of better times past;
Telling him of the time he caught a butterfly
And brought it to show the girls and guys.
How he wanted to let it fly away,
But when the boys had killed it anyway.
He cried and was called a coward then,
And as my father spoke and wept again.

Old Uncle Harold died alone
In a sterile, cold-floored nursing home.
None but Dad came to grieve
And I, only an hour away, shunned
the feeling and just felt numb,
Until Dad called and told me the story
Of Harold’s death and only then
Could I say, “I’m sorry!” to his ghost.
I should have said it long ago; the one who
Maddened him least repented the most.
If I could say “Sorry” for the times we made him shout.
I realised he’d just have yelled, “Get the hell out!”
This is about my great uncle, a casualty of WWI, who was the "bogeyman" of my youth and then the sad story of a forgotten veteran.
Dante Algheri Nov 2018
The sound of whistle
A rattle of gunfire
Dodging the shrapnel
Straight over the barbed wire

Heading towards the enemy, I hold my breath
Say a prayer, as we plunge into our death
Through the smoke, mud and lead

Our foe lies just ahead
Clasping my rifle tight
Their guns ablaze with spite

We get so close, yet still too far
With burst of fire I go down
No one near, I choke a cry
No one hears, my time is nigh

See my comrades falling down
In the shrill their voices drown
The wailing shells - our passing bells

Soon my friends we'll meet again
And so we die at Passchendaele
Brandon Conway Jun 2018
Tie your shuka on your shoulder
Gather your shield and spear of death
The white God for now you are to soldier
Find your courage and take one last deep breath.

You thought war was made of
Those things that you gathered,
You were wrong, so we shoved
A gun and ammo for you to lather.

This is your duty, and that's what you believe  
This is your duty, go out and try not to bleed
This is your duty, and that of thy enemies.

You held the gun like we showed
You walked to the place we told
You believed the lies we sold
All while wearing the white man's blindfold.

With a smile and a glimmer of hope
The men you sought
Found you first
And now you rest
Under the dry dirt.

But that's ok for they
Were only shooting
In the name of Duty,
So Hooray!
empty seas Mar 2018
WWI
I went to a
WWI museum today
And as I looked at the
poorly built trenches
and the weapons used
and the gas rising from the ground
and the ships sunk and planes shot down
and the foot shortages and blockades
and the unimaginably high numbers
of the deaths of soldiers and civilians
my stomach twisted and turned
and I realized how terrified I was
of another war
and how every step our country takes
leads us ever closer to one
and how I don’t want another flower
to become a symbol of war
like the poppies that surround
cross-shaped graves
“Hell is not fire... Hell is mud” “It is sweet and right to die for your country”
Kurt Carman Nov 2017
Reciting Flanders Field,

My tears soak this hallowed ground,

Single red Poppy tribute,

A remembrance of those fallen.

 

I stand in silence ………

And silence speaks when words cannot.

“Lest we forget” 11/11/2017
Liliana Lopez Jun 2017
Our time has passed away.
The flower has wilted,
No longer fluid, fresh.
Flowers left by lovers
Who are long cold, dead.
The red of spilt blood
Has bleached love white, white roses
Pain subsidizes not in action,
But in the thought
Of a thousand sounds pounding
In the cold damp.
It reeks of carnage.
War, you have left a void:
A blank in hearts.
How to wander aimlessly
Being neither here nor there?
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
~ Otto Dix Plate 22 ~

Each night I meet myself in nightmares
I am my own enemy fighting in No-man’s land
I am material and real, yet I barely exist
in my imagination.

There is nothing whole and complete
nothing has retained its shape or structure
everything is splintered into surfaces
in my imagination.

There can be only shreds and shards
only textures, hard lines and spaces
where white light can dance free
in my imagination.

Each night I crawl through ruined houses
along dark passages that close me in
dropping to bottomless depths of myself
in my imagination

There are only axons and dendrites in my mind
electric sparking, all atoms in a crystal night
a grasping hand, a gaping eye disconnected
in my imagination.

Each night I try to find myself in nightmares
I am my own enemy fighting in No-man’s land
I am dark energy and matter, yet I barely exist
in my imagination.


© M.L.Emmett
This is a response to Plate 22 Etching by Otto Dix, who fought in WWI and was haunted by his service. He was despised by the Nazis.
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