On this day when we remember the fallen, lets gave pause for thought, to the boys forced to become men, to become killers. In silent contemplation, I at times shout out to my silence; why do we discard our best and brightest to senseless conflicts. The hopes and disappointments of generations of young (mostly) men/boys are always dashed at the altar of political expedience and greed. Young men fighting old men’s wars. The First World War poets have always stuck a deep chord on my soul and I reread the poems and contemplate deeply on the what, why, how and the loss. The poetry of Owen, Rosenberg, Blunden, Gurney and Sassoon are those that I turn to when I need to pause and think, why is this world so fucked up?
Consequently, I have put my pen to writing about war, and the effect it has had on me; as who served, and on our youth and the broader society. Here are some of the poems I have written with a precise of what inspired/motivated me to to put pen to paper. Not in the same league as Owen and Sassoon, but hopefully it will cause you dear reader, to pause, and reflect as to where we are going in this crazy world.
Upon reflecting on my time in the military/war as an Ops Medic, my mind flitted around the war, in which I was involved, and its unpopularity (in my opinion) and the baggage that one carries after the fact. The PTSD that soldiers carry with them for life, but that society has long forgotten, especially if the war was unpopular. Sting said: “History will teach us nothing” in some respects he is true.
The passing of Muhammad Ali gave me pause for reflection on the issues of war, forcible conscription and all that goes with it, he went to prison rather than be drafted to serve in Vietnam. I then reflected back on my time when I was forcibly conscripted in 1981 and my battle with the process of all that is war.
This arose from a dream I had, which then made me think back to a Wilfred Owen poem I read, “Strange Meeting”. Upon further reflection I cast my mind back to when I was an Ops Medic in the bush war in 1981/82 and the time I spent treating patients at the main POW camp in the now Namibia. My thought process then meandered through a montage of past present and future. It was a difficult poem to write but the words just spilled out once I began.
life, for what purposeto what end do we exist, or do we?dwelling in the pain of human finitudewith transient joys, to what enddo not the beasts of the field have more purpose?finding happiness and meaning,is it even possible in their worldcan we even control what matters?a reason and a season for this perpetual autumnmy dreams are as stormy clouds, fast approachingyet tomorrow never arrivesfor we are destined to shuffle on and offwe live, we die, we know not whywhat is this lifeis it even meant to have meaning?breath, eat, love, shit, workand then …..
how long must one endure?giving up not coz I don’t carebut because others don’tI’ve fuckin’ had enoughstepping back from life’s bullshitfighting a losing battletrying not to lose warby losing the battlehow deep must one dig?until you find it all,then to discovermaybe you still do….
home is where we startbut not where were it endsthe pathway from birth to deathis littered with choicescollected, used, stored, discardedsome stones sparkle and temptothers lie cracked, damaged, exposedby life's harsh realitiesyet there is value in these damaged stonesand then, one day, I will die somewhereagainst my will or another’s
but not today
if I pass away in some foreign fieldsun burnt white back bonesthe brittle stations of the crosscivilisations like bones… turn to dustwho will know to come and mourn?if they knew, would they?eulogy or legacywhat remains.. other than another dayas the worlds falls apartthe strings are pulledit all unravels, at the endI can’t leave, but eventually I willjust passing through
who the fuck are you?who tells you who you are?the world or your inner voice?what is this lifewhat’s the reason or purpose?born, exist, diepassion before actionaffirming what is beforeyes, suffering is realfor a seasonchoose one, fall into discontentonly one time for each seasonlet your inner voice screaminto the chasmeven if fuck all happens