Tuesday, 31 May 2011

War Poetry

Poetry from those taking part in conflicts has always seemed to me to be much more poignant and meaningful than that of a pacifist writing from the comfort of a nice cosy office, study or drawing room. The messages are much more hard hitting, and the images so much scarier from someone actually experiencing life in Afghanistan in 2009 or the Somme in 1916.

The following is a poem written by a soldier serving in Helmand:

Author's introduction-
This poem concerns the current operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. My intention was to draw parallels between military operations using the poppy which is grown extensively for opium and ironically is also the symbol we use for Remembrance Day.


Night on the cold plain,
invisible sands lift,
peripheral shadows stir,

space between light and dark
shrouding secrets;
old trades draped grey.

Here too poppies fall,
petals blown on broken ground,
seeds scattered on stone

and this bright bloom,
newly cropped,
leaves pale remains,

fresh lines cut;
the old sickle wind
sharp as yesterday.

John Hawkhead

This poem and many others appear on the War Poetry Website .

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