Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Sound To War

I was looking through some old files when I found the following poem. I'd largely forgotten about it. It was published way back in 1992 in Midnight Zoo, Volume 2, Issue 5. I used to write quite a few rhyming poems but haven't done one in ages now. Thought I'd just run it here. 


A SOUND TO WAR 

The bull roarers, they are roaring
A frightful thing to hear
And the mothers know too soon
They'll hold the still ones dear

The horns, they are a'wailing
And the spearheads glitter long
But it's nothing like the glory
To be told about in song

The bagpipes, they are skirling
As the widow's brood is borne
Down coomb into the valley
Where last the sheep were shorn

The mortars, they are booming
And the shrapnel's in the grass
Down in the jungle deltas
When will he see his lass

The jets, they are a'screaming
Above the pockmarked waste
And the targets go down easy
You'll never see his face

The silence is astounding
Where warriors were at work
In a place of bone and blood
Where all but ravens shirk

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18 comments:

Brian Miller said...

whew...nice cadence to this...almost like the drums of war themselves...the silence i think is the most unsettling part...war...not for the faint of heart, that is for sure.

the walking man said...

Great anti war piece--which is why you write so well of conflict in lands and places far off, at heart you're a pacifist. Love this piece of writing Charles.


Brian the thing about war is everyone believes they don't have the courage for it until the first bullet fly's by your ear, then fear drops away with the desire to live through it. Detroit is like this.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is really powerful, Charles.

Charles Gramlich said...

Brian, thanks, man.

Mark, I am. I remember when I was young and thought that there was glory in war. I know better now.

Alex, thanks. Glad you liked it.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Good one, Charles. I enjoy reading rhyming poems but, I think, they're not the easiest of poems to pen. I hope you find a few more of these.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

That is a very powerful piece, my friend.

Oscar said...

A truly fine poem, Charles, even if the subject is not so fine.

Erik Donald France said...

Right on ~ and always current through the ages / spaces /timezones.

David Cranmer said...

Strong lines, Charles. Especially liked "Above the pockmarked waste/And the targets go down easy. Sharp.

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, they are pretty hard. At least to do something that isn't an easy rhyme.

Bernard, I appreciate that.

Oscar, thanks, man. Glad you appreciated it.

Erik, very true. I hope someday we can break the chain.

David, thanks for the kind words!

Sarah Hina said...

I heard this as a song with a strong Celtic flavor.

Stirring, Charles. "In a place of bone and blood." Love this piece. Thanks for sharing this side of you.

Rachel V. Olivier said...

It reminds me of "Where have all the flowers gone" - it's nothing like that song, but it gives me the same feeling when I read it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sarah, I was probably reading a lot of Celtic related stuff when I wrote this. I don't remember much anymore.

Rachel, thankee. Been a long time since I heard that song.

SzélsőFa said...

Some of the long forgotten habits of old times should be brought back to practice again ;)
A moving poem, indeed.
And I liked the comments, too.

Ron Scheer said...

Buried somewhere in my (paper) files are scores of poems from decades ago. I doubt I have the courage to read them again, let alone post them. Especially after reading yours, which harks back to a time when being anti-war was not misconstrued as being unpatriotic. Hats off to you, my friend.

Lisa said...

Beautiful Charles

Charles Gramlich said...

Szelsofa, thanks.

Ron, thanks. You should probably post some of those poems. Poetry is so subjective. If they connect within yourself they probably connect to someone else as well.

Lisa, Thankee!

jodi said...

Charles-Wow. Didn't know ya had it in ya. Awesome.