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Veteran's Day

War inspired poetry is making the rounds today, lionizing all soldiers and naming them all heroes. As a soldier myself, I'd say that's crap - the heroes are the ones who do heroic things; preferably in service of a noble aim or in defense of life rather than in taking it. Ask the soldiers in Iraq why they want to see the job done (and most of them do) - I warrant they'll tell you it's duty to each other, and not to ideal. It's love of their brothers that puts men in the way of the bullet, again and again.

So in the spirit of Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" - I copy a more modern poem, by Brian Turner, an Iraq war veteran.

Here, Bullet

If a body is what you want,
then here is bone and gristle and flesh.
Here is the clavicle-snapped wish,
the aorta’s opened valves, the leap
thought makes at the synaptic gap.
Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,
that inexorable flight, that insane puncture
into heat and blood. And I dare you to finish
what you’ve started. Because here, Bullet,
here is where I complete the word you bring
hissing through the air, here is where I moan
the barrel’s cold esophagus, triggering
my tongue’s explosives for the rifling I have
inside of me, each twist of the round
spun deeper, because here, Bullet,
here is where the world ends, every time.

It's Veteran's Day. Not every veteran is a hero, but every veteran made a sacrifice. Their suffering is worth remembering as well as their service; maybe in the future, there can be less of it.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 12th, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC)
I usualy don't care much for free verse, but those are some powerful words. Thanks.
Nov. 12th, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Moving
I don't mean to be pedantic, but this is actually blank verse. It has a regular meter, but doesn't rhyme.

The author, interestingly, got his MFA before enlisting in the Army, and serving 7 years in the infantry. He served in Bosnia, as well as in the line of fire in Iraq.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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