War Poems 2009

War poetry sent to the War Poetry website in 2009

Poems sent to this website in 2009

Still I remain by "Lucy"

I ask not for peace by Jordan B Hodgson

Victims of War by W Gabriel Dinkha

The Eternal Soldier by Mark Vine (recorded by the famous Celtic folk band, The Dolmen).

The Barrier Crasher by Eliaz Cohen

Still I Remain

Who is this man, that can pull a trigger,
and end a life without so much as
the quickening of his heartbeat?
What do his hands grasp now I wonder?
Cold metal, a Commando dagger,
whilst the memory of his soft touch,
still aches on the surface of my skin.

I may not know who he is, but my heart does.
It shouts his name with every beat,
and grieves every second that we’re parted.
It knows every inch of his skin,
and can see the edges of his soul.
Each beat a metronome counting,
the moments until he’s safe in my arms.

I didn’t know that fear like this was possible.
But it has become my everyday companion.
I’m waiting for him alone in the darkness,
like a princess locked in a tower,
whilst I spin my fear into hope and,
my love and prayers into a suit of armour,
to keep him safe.  Still I remain.

"Lucy"
February 2009

I ask not for peace

Jordan Hodgson: I am an American college student who has much to say & no one to listen.

Another cold stare into the night.
He had honor,
Now dead in the sand.
No one to keep his body warm,
But the red, lifeless sand.
Where is the honor?
All I see is blood.
All I see,
is war.
I ask not for peace;
I ask for war as a last resort.
I ask for war when peace has been tried a thousand times.
For a thousand rejections are better than the pain of losing one Human being.
Not an American, not a Taliban.
But simply to avoid the cold black stare.
Fight not with honor, but with justice.
Fight not with a sword, but with compassion.
Speak not to your ally, but listen to your enemy.
These are the words which will fall upon deaf ears
As men and women around the world pour their blood into the sand.
Never to be held again,
Never to be cherished.
Wasted---in the name of what?
All I see now is a cold black stare.

 

Jordan B. Hodgson
2009

W Gabriel Dinkha – Victims of War

A mother describes raising and loving a son only to lose him in war. The author writes, "I am a 38-year-old Assyrian female who lives in Sydney Australia." (July 2007)

Victims of War

She carried him for nine whole months
Not once did she complain,
The Lord had blessed her with a son
Her boy was worth the pain.
She gave him life – the greatest gift
She’d sing him off to sleep,
Singing songs her mother sang
For hours in her seat.
She watched him as he learnt to crawl
And clapped when he learnt to walk,
She smothered his face with kisses
When he finally learnt to talk.
She cried when she sent him off to school
Her boy had now turned five,
She remembered the day that he was born
How quick the years passed by.
At times he’d come home after school
With blood stains on his knees,
She’d scold him when his pants were torn
"My Son, STOP climbing trees!! "
She couldn’t stay upset for long
He was her pride and joy,
At night she’d close her eyes and pray
"Dear Lord – please watch my boy."

The years moved on her son grew up
A man he had become,
She instilled in him her wisdom
To teach him right from wrong.
She lay in bed awake at night
Her eyes glued to the door,
She worried when he came home late
Her country was at war.
She knew one day the time would come
When she would say goodbye,
She’d send her soldier son to war
And pray he would not die.
That day arrived so quickly
She felt so sick inside,
Her son was being drafted
Her sadness she could not hide.
She held him in her arms so tight
As she said her final words,
"If heaven decides to call your name
Pretend you never heard".
He sent her letters when he could
She’d read them and she’d cry,
She hadn’t seen him since he left
But at least he was alive.
But then one day the letters stopped
She got a call instead,

"Madam – WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU
YOUR SON HAS BEEN FOUND DEAD!!
The words had blurred her vision
She collapsed onto the floor,
The little boy with the bloody knees
Was now a martyr of war.
This mother’s hair turned grey that night
She had no will to live,
She’d given God her flesh and blood
She had no more to give.
Millions of mothers around the world
Have made this sacrifice,
For the sake of barrels of oil
They’ve paid the ultimate price.
How many more do we have to lose?
As world leaders play these games,
How many more must sit and wait
For that bullet with their name.?
WORLD LEADERS – SEND YOUR KIDS TO WAR
LET THEM FIGHT FOR YOUR BELIEFS!!
THEN MAYBE WHEN YOU LOSE A CHILD
YOU’LL GIVE US ALL RELIEF!!

W Gabriel Dinkha
2007

The Eternal Soldier


Mark Vine writes;
The lyric below has just been recorded by Taloch, the lead singer of the famous Celtic folk band, The Dolmen. (Winners of the New 7 Wonders song writing competition)

I have for some time now been incensed by the governments’ reluctance to treat and care for our brave troops who give their all for their country and so, I wrote these words which Taloch put music to.

I am the eternal soldier; I’m there when you need me
Fighting for your liberties down every century
Standing on the front-line, bleeding for your cause
Just a name on a memorial, at which you never pause.
I halted the Armada, stood my ground at Marston Moor 
I was in the line at Minden and I heard the Zulu roar,
I was in the square at Waterloo and fought the fearless Boers
And I was gassed in the trenches of the war to end all wars …….
I piloted a Spitfire, stormed the beach at Normandy
Froze to death in Korea and I yomped to Port Stanley,
I was bombed to hell in Basra, under fire in old Kabul
I am a deadly Exocet, a politician’s tool.  
Yet all I ask is wages and three square meals a day
To lay my life upon the line, to live in harms way,
But it’s the same old story, when your victory is won
Then I’m just an embarrassment, with a loaded gun.
And the debt is soon forgotten, when the nightmares come to call
When each night I hear my best friend scream and helpless, watch him fall,
I’m told to snap out of it, I’m told big boys don’t cry
And I’m left to drink myself to death and on a cold street die.

I halted the Armada, stood my ground at Marston Moor 
I was in the line at Minden and I heard the Zulu roar,
I was in the square at Waterloo and fought the fearless Boers
And I was gassed in the trenches of the war to end all wars,

piloted a Spitfire, stormed the beach at Normandy
Froze to death in Korea and I yomped to Port Stanley,
I was bombed to hell in Basra, under fire in old Kabul
I am a deadly Exocet, a politician’s tool.  
I march on your decision, anywhere in this wide world
In places where our flag had no right to be unfurled,
And I’m not asking for riches, I want nothing for free
The only thing I’m asking for, 
Is a measure of dignity.
For I am the eternal soldier; I’m there when you need me
Fighting for your conscience down every century
And I’m standing on the front-line, bleeding for your cause
Just a name on a memorial, at which you never pause.

Mark Vine
(Written in 2007)

Exocet - a missile used with devastating effect in the Falklands War

The Barrier Crasher

A poem from Israel. Information about the poet follows the poem.

For Ali Yichya, my teacher on being appointed ambassador to Athens

 
At this dusky hour, at the foot of Mount Gilboa
when I am dressed in drab against my will 
to join the guards of the roadblock 
(the Jalama border crossing, at times a roadblock, at times
a road ascending from the Afula Valley to the Dotan Valley
and to the road of the mountain and the fathers)
at this hour I think of you Ali Yichya
how you came all warm and paunchy rolling to us, 
little settler-children of Sabia and Thamania in the land of waking Samaria,
the dancing gutturals 
of the language of Hada’d.


At this dusky hour your people are returning, Ali, the people that are in the fields
and I stand in their way, with all the security checks
and those gutturals that came then to our little mouths
Return searching for a language.


At this dusky hour almost anything is possible
when my heart sings Arabic and goes out to the woman
whose onions have spilled out of her sack all over the place
and how in her proud silence she collects them whispering
one of the songs
that you taught us Ali Yichya from Kara Village in the virgin Elkana
which is being built
[and I didn’t know that you and your village have roots in our hills
that your ancestral mound which was deserted on an el-juma day 
miten snin ago (they found in the mound a pot of meat and bones left on the coals)
near enough to be seen by us

At this dusky hour I see you Ali Yichya
carrying the prayer shawl flag
in the heights where the Greek gods of the Acropolis dwell
and how in an excited-Arab-soul all my cuts are healed 
in the one soul

 

Here at the roadblock silence descends now
and only the gold skin-of-gathered-onions still broadcasts a smell
that song and the smell
of the embarrassment of the woman and the soldier standing over her
(meaning me)
and ana mushtak- lak ya sid Ali

At this dusky hour, at the foot of Mount Gilboa
Soon the day will fall on its sword 
And a cobalt blue evening will rise
With no moon.

 

Pretty Jenin and her daughters once again will curl skyward
The allahu akhbar in the wonderful mak’am
And I will send fingers of a Hebrew Priest
To my loved ones who are in the mountains
And to you as well


Eliaz Cohen

Translated from the Hebrew by Larry Barak

About Eliaz Cohen
Eliaz Cohen, poet and social worker, was born in Petach-Tikva in 1972. He  is one of the leading figures in the renaissance of religious poetry and arts in Israel.

He is an editor of the "Mashiv Haru'ach" journal of poetry , and author of four published collections of poetry.

Cohen was the recipient of the "Prime Minister Award" for literature in 2006 and the "Avichay Sabbatical Prize" also in 2006.

He is a member in kibbutz Kfar-Etzion, married and a father of four.

Elisha Porat


A new poem which may refer to experiences of war.

  
Khamsin on the Hills 

 

Do you remember that 
khamsin on the hills? The branches 
full of thorns sent to us by 
the thirsty wild plums? The 
blazing rocks and the scent 
of toasted pine needles? 
The blush that rose on your cheeks, and the drops 
of your gentle sweat? My soul 
reached out to you then my love. 
And I did not guess there that such 
would be our lives: crowns of thorns, 
and the heat of the khamsim, and the blush of 
the sweat of love. And the sorrow that eats 
at us from inside for the speed of elusive 
time and the lightning vision of 
painful memory, flying away.

Elisha Porat
2009

Translated from the Hebrew by Cindy Eisner.
Khamsin on the Hills Khamsin on the Hills 
Copyright of poems and texts belongs to the authors. Published here with permission.
Translated from the Hebrew by Cindy Eisner.

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