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Iraq War Poems 5

Poems added to this collection at the end of 2005 and later



On the second anniversary of George W. Bush proclaiming the end of major combat operations in Iraq.

Emma Seaberry

The aircraft is loaded and ready on the tarmac.

Tonight for Delaware he flies.

A world away from this land of sand and heat.

To her land of lush greenery and cool nights.

He and others finally aboard.

The aircraft is filled with silence.

During his year away

He thought of her azure eyes.

What would they hold on his return?

Would they be the same?

Would he be too different?

Would they reclaim their past together?

Flags are in place.

Fresh crisp uniforms for the departing.

He and others aboard no longer fear death.

Those left behind still do.

The war still rages.

The brief fighting of months has now turned to years.

Distant tracers briefly fill the heated night.

A sharp rapid climb

And the aircraft is soon away from the horrid

Smells of frustrating death.

Within a day he will return to Emma Seaberry.

Down through the coastal mist

To the saddest azure eyes waiting to claim his body!


Hubert Wilson

A son, a brother, a husband, a father, a veteran.


Derek Sellen's introduction:

I have been writing poetry for forty years and wanted

to express the way that the shames of this war cannot

and should not be escaped but shadow us in our daily



Shadows of War


I walk in the gardens,

on the run from the news.

The orange waste-sacks,

bellied with swept leaves,

crouch between the limes

all along the bare avenue -

prisoners of Guantanamo.


I walk in the orchards,

abandoned to autumn.

A dog leaps playful

out of its owner's control,

runs with the leash trailing

among the shit-coils in the dirt -

barking an echo of Abu Ghraib.


I walk in the break-time,

see poems on a classroom wall,

Owen, Sassoon, Sorley,

the texts of this year's syllabus:

words wailing like shells,

beyond the limits of our hearing -

mourning the corpses of Fallujah.

Derek Sellen

November 2004

Road Through Hell

I took the road through hell

one along the Tigris and Euphrates;

Death fouled in the air

and Agony had no place to sleep.

Three hundred and thirty days in the trail

piercing ill memories in my heart,

unpleasant dreams aplenty,

and the struggle to remember who I am.

Predators ravaged the land

while scavengers fed on the less fortunate

the weary, bloody stained desert roads

reminded me that death could be eminent.

Will I finish the journey as I began?

The next thirty some days will tell me so

as I go back along the Tigris and Euphrates

and leave the place I once called home.

Michael Pilarte


If My Eyes Could Talk


If my eyes could talk

what would they tell you?

And if they did

how would they say it?

Could they or would they tell you

about places that I have been

of the things that I have seen

of the things I have done

or the ones I didn't do.

Could they tell you so much

or could they tell you so little.

Or, would they tell you just enough

to judge me- and then would you?

If only my eyes could talk

and tell you the stories that I am keeping quiet,

would you call me a coward?

Would you think any less of me,

or shake my hand and buy me a drink?

If my eyes could talk

and told you what I have seen and done

would you be here with me

or would you walk out the door.

Michael Pilarte

Remembrance Day 2004


Remembrance Day 2004.

More British soldiers dead

In another British war.


Yesterday some of their parents

In anguish and anger went to Downing Street

To lay a wreath

To lay the blame

At the door

Of the man most responsible

For our latest war.


But their sons are gone.


And Iraq's cities are in ruins.

In many thousands Iraq, too, has lost its sons.

Their sons are gone, their children maimed.

Chaos and trauma are everywhere.

For the shattering of this nation

We share the blame.


No fine words can give these crimes

The slightest gloss.


Parents grieve. Such a quantity of grief.

Such needless destruction. Such needless pain.

Parents grieve.

Let us reflect on

Their needless loss.


Let us reflect on their needless loss.


David Roberts

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