Setting Sail

They built a boat on the Brandywine
And covered it in clover,
Celebrating the glorious day
That the Great War was finally over.

They sailed the river wide
Enjoying the freedom of the water,
Fantasizing lush green fields and afternoons
In the company of the Captain’s daughter.

But despite the smiles and laughter
They were all forever changed,
Like the borders of foreign countries,
By war drastically rearranged.

They saw ancient cites leveled,
And human flesh burned black,
They’d fight two hours to gain ten feet,
And lose twenty in the counter attack.

But no one could understand
Who hadn’t seen through their eyes,
The horrors they’d encountered,
And the morals they’d been forced to compromise.

And now the war was finished,
Until the next one came along,
The soldier sacrifice all but forgotten
Save in the melody of their melancholy song.



The Battlefield


An old weary soldier,
Alone on an empty battlefield,
Mud filled trenches and
Bombed out craters.
Still smoldering fires in the distance.
Every other soul,
Friend or foe,
Felled along the line.

A brief pause,
After the battle is spent,
Tattered clothes,
He talks to ghosts,
Debating with death
To lay down arms
Before the conflict continues.


Image is taken from a WW I Montage, found on WikiMedia Commons.


Cold black blade
Burning blood red runes
Wisdom worms
Burrowing into tombs

The price of the blade
Is the blood that is spilled,
The victories all hollow
When all else is killed.



I’ve been rereading a few of Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion novels (The Eternal Champion and Phoenix in Obsidian so far. I’ll be starting The Dragon in the Sword next) and this was the result

The Coming War (Tanka)

Armadas set sail
Missiles locked on target
Egos go to war
Everyone else pays the price
In blood and innocent lives


Poem #30 for National Poetry Writing Month (aka #NaPoWriMo).

So Tired of the War

Sopping wet cotton towel
Laid across broad shoulders,
Heavy, cold; pressing down
Like two one ton granite boulders.

Frosty goose skinned arms
Shivering in the back of the night
Blurred vision, runny nose,
No energy left to fight.

Enemy within, enemy without
This war just needs to end.
Losses heavy, steaks so high,
The home-front can’t comprehend.

The end’s in sight, the pain will stop,
No longer be afraid:
This old soldier’s mission ends
When in the ground he’s laid.


Poem #13 for National Poetry Writing Month (aka #NaPoWriMo)

Cui Bono?

There’s no money, they say,
To feed the hungry in the streets.
Its not cost effective, we’re told,
To provide healthcare for the sick and the weak.
Can’t expect a hard working coal miner,
living below the poverty level,
To pay for art, culture and PBS.

But there always seems to be a few million dollars laying around
To shoot missiles at brown people in the Middle-East
Who pose no threat to our borders or citizens.
A mission of selfless mercy, they say,
For those poor brown children gassed by their government.
The same poor brown children we closed our borders to
Because two years vetting simply isn’t extreme enough
To know for sure if they’re terrorists or not.

Cui Bono?
From whom are million dollar missiles bought?
Which stockholders’ coffers are filled
Each time the trigger is pulled?

There’s no hesitation to start a war
When corporate oligarchs know
They won’t pay the bill,
They’ll just collect their fees,
Consolidate their power;
And watch the TV ratings soar.
Its the poor plebeians who pay,
With their blood
And the blood of their children,
Ground up in the gears of the great American
Military-industrial complex.


Cui Bono (pronounced”Koo-ee Bo-no”) is an old Latin phrase that means, roughly, “Who benefits?”

Poem #10 for National Poetry Writing Month (aka #NaPoWriMo)

שלום (a tanka)

Peace: Absence of War
Shalom: Wholeness; Unity
Everything: Broken
A house divided can’t stand
The world soul must be healed.


שלום = Shalom (pronounced Sha-lome), the Hebrew word most commonly tramslated as “Peace,” but which more literally means, as stated in the poem, “wholeness.” See more here.

This tanka is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #12 – Peace & Spirit. I chose to use “soul” in place of “spirit.”


Sherman’s Lament

For General William Tecumseh Sherman and soldiers everywhere.

The day over, the battle won.
No joy rests in the victory.
The home front questions tactics,
I’m a soldier accused of barbary

Looking out o’er the battlefield
I see the bodies of fathers, sons and brothers.
Their blood cried out to me from the mud
Like the weeping of wives, sisters and mothers.

I’m but a humble soldier
With a job that must be done.
A country that needs healing,
A war that must be won.

We fight for freedom and glory,
Or so the politicians tell.
But their reasons are all moonshine
This war—all war—is Hell.


“I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers … it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.”

–Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, May 1865