Sunday, November 10, 2013

627 : No Man's Land

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #134) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are:

buckle, gain, miss, instant, navigate, grace
visions, humming, drill, dignity, years, stride

Tomorrow, November 11th, is Armistice Day.

No Man’s Land

The poppies wave in the breeze,
Vibrant.  Enchanting.  
Deep red.  Blood red.
But with black hearts.
Visions of grace and dignity over the years,
They are symbols of missed opportunities,
Symbols of the bloody waste
That is human warfare.

Every year we look at them, 
These beautiful poppies,
And our mind navigates the ugly 
And painful story that they embody,
To a prettier place.

We see visions of young men
Proudly striding in their uniforms,
Cleanly pressed, buckles gleaming,
Marching, in a well polished drill,
Passing through our streets.
Crowds cheer, wave flags,
Humming patriotic songs 
As the procession passes from view,
Happy that for a brief instant 
They shared the glory,
The clean, crisp sanitized glory.

No battlefield for them,
No cold, wide-eyed panic,
No stench of death and decay.
No holding a dying compatriot.
They do not share these things,
They stay on the warm side of no man’s land.
Where the sweet poppies grow.

But like a low thunder on the horizon,
The threat of war is still there, always there.
One has to ask, for all who have died,
What did we gain?
© J Cosmo Newbery 2013


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  1. 'What did we gain?'
    What did we learn - and was it worth it?
    Thanks Cosmo, a timely reminder.

  2. Cosmo this is a seminal poem which should be read everywhere at Remembrance services. Your view of war is identical to my own, but you have expressed it so much better than I ever could.

  3. something for us to think about this weekend.

  4. Timely, relevant and the question sadly will be asked forever.

  5. An eloquent poem of remembrance.

  6. I'm in awe of the poem you wrote with these words. Awesome.

  7. Very powerful tribute to the lost lives. Poppies. Beautiful, tragic flowers.

  8. Well done J Cosmo. i used to ask my grandfather, who was a general for the Austrian army, that very same question, and he said the freedom to live. My British father agreed. Your poem is a beautiful reminder for this time of year.

  9. Beautifully expressed poem on the horrors of war, J.


  10. Well done. We were of a similar mind, though on a different path.

  11. I agree with vivinfrance so I am going to share this powerful poem of war.

  12. You owned these words in a manner few can equal. Beautifully woven, they swiftly become a treasure. Thank you,


  13. Flowers of remembrance...War tribute. Important poem.

  14. What an important piece you have written. Well done.

  15. Powerfully written piece against the slaughter that is war, whether bodily or mentally or both. This poem got me in the gut and I wish if it were published, as it should be, that more than poets would read it and weep, and then change things. Once, in WWII it seemed war was the right thing to do, before and after it has not been right. It has been about power and greed, which are one in the same and I fear for those in control of this world which is our rightful home.

  16. Truly gripping!

  17. I agree with Vandana. I salute those brave men. Your poem was a lovely tribute.

  18. "clean, crisp sanitized glory."


  19. Yes, what have we gained by the sacrifice of so many? A powerful piece to honor those who marched off to war.

  20. Nicely done-yes we will always wonder..
    It haunts us on a day like today and should...

  21. Beautiful...and appropriate.

  22. So true of many battles perhaps..if people saw the reality not the polished and buckled up exterior..they probably wouldn't be cheering and waving flags..

  23. Salud, and salute ~

  24. Cos, this was a gut punch of a poem, for those who truly read it. Not a celebration of those who go off to war, nor a lack of acknowledgment for those who died. Rather a condemnation of war, and I am right with you, sir. Thank you for writing this brave piece.

    My dad was a WWII veteran. He hated war, said it was all about money. He was disillusioned by the treatment of Vietnam vets as well as by the reasons for the war. He died on Dec. 7, 1991... the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. I can think of no greater irony. Peace, Amy

  25. hide the dark side and reveal the parade..... I can't help but to wonder, how did we get here...??

  26. Heart felt to make us stop. Make us drop down and and tears flow at the futility, the humanity of war.


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