Looking Aghast at War

Two bullies exchanging words
Turn to throwing well aimed stones
Surrounded by their pals they aren’t alone
And before long they toss verbal bombs
Threats become action as they dig their graves

Two gangs fight over turf filled with graves
Spray paint their symbols and words
Scattered indelible dirty bombs
A witness to stupidity displayed on tombstones
And the women weep and wail alone

To give the cause credence he worked alone
Planting a flag at each of the graves
Breaking the silence of the stones
They were past the time of impotent words
To effect change they turned to bombs

Night was a time to fear the bombs
Huddled in dark cellars all alone
Peace was nothing but empty words
All the countries mourned and dug graves
Cities and towns turned to piles of stones

The mothers sifted through the stones
Searching for life after the bombs
They placed sons and daughters in graves
Bereft of husband and family they sat alone
Empty of tears, pleas, prayers and curse words

War robs us of words, turns hearts to stones, makes us alone
War’s bombs unsated by the graves of our hopes and dreams

This is my take on the End of Summer scavenger hunt prompt #8 – Write a Pentina on the topic of war. A pentina is a variation of the sestina but instead of 6 stanzas of six lines there are 5 stanzas of five lines. Anyway, it is only a tiny bit less difficult than the sestina. I’m considering it a “warm-up” for the sestina coming next.

We are a belligerent species. I can only be thankful that nations have NOT been able to pull together like army ants – that would certainly doom us to extinction. It starts almost as soon as we can walk. By the time we are old enough to play in groups there are those who exert dominance over their playmates and demand the immediate use of toys even if others are playing with them. The bully evolves into the gang leader. In adulthood there are those who believe that violence is the means to an end (usually the end that they want to achieve). It doesn’t stop there it expands to cultures, countries, religious communities, you name the group. There is someone trying to push their vision onto others using all and every means but especially violence. And then we get war. It pains me to think of the lives lost, the potential squandered, the tears shed. There is nothing praiseworthy about war. No matter how it is spun war is an expense that takes more than it gives and there really isn’t a winner – we all lose.

25 thoughts on “Looking Aghast at War

  1. Well said~! Strange I typed the word WORDS to save a poem, then your post popped up.. My thoughts were not on what you wrote about but very much related…in a way.. Will post it after I edit it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well said Val…war in whatever form will never be in any way beneficial….
    I love that you explained how war even exist among little kids, young boys and teens.


  3. Gah. Not meant for your wrought iron piece. But it does bring it all up again.
    Our educational system…fail. Good at making slaves, though. 😉 The basis of our society (if it’s capitalism)…fail. Or maybe more controls? I’m good with people being abundant. But predatory? No. ?Our value system…? Sorry for all the personal commentary.
    Ok, let me get my version of this done. 😉


    1. Thanks David. That line is truth and is harsh and hopeful. The topics are not always rainbows and sparkles but I did try to put a few lighter subjects scattered in… Poets often draw from current events and find inspiration in staring down reality.


  4. I agree that only those wanting to exert power and influence and grow their wealth will try to always justify the need for wars. The human costs have, are and will be appalling. But technology is driven by empire-building and conflict. The majority of the modern-day tools we heavily rely on (e.g. aircraft, the internet, jet engines, mobile communications, nuclear power…) had their development rooted in winning wars (or in defence from the threat of them). Harari’s book ‘Sapiens’ does a good job of explaining the links between these intrinsic human aspects. I don’t think we’ll ever escape from war in our current guise as a species.


    1. Thanks for the visit and thoughtful comment! I agree that we are a pugnacious species – often self-centered and greedy. I always hope that we will transcend that ugly part of our natures and become better versions of ourselves. Currently it is the decision of the individual…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the hardest truths I have learned as an adult is that almost everyone is okay with killing, as long as it is the “right” people dying (others) for the “right” reasons (ours). Sad, but true.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only thing that saves me is that “almost”. I have a hard time thinking that anyone “deserves” to die. Yet in my youth I saw the death penalty as justice. Now I’m older and I’ve seen the failures of the court system and the police – I’m not so sure that only the guilty are sitting on Death Row. As for war there is an blood lust in most of the world’s leaders that has brought us too often to the brink of war.


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