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21st-Sep-2018 12:01 am - Robert Graves, 'The Dead Fox Hunter'
The Dead Fox Hunter

We found the little captain at the head;
His men lay well-aligned.
We touched his hand - stone cold - and he was dead,
And they, all dead behind,
Had never reached their goal, but they died well;
They charged in line, and in the same line fell.

They well-known rosy colours of his face
Were almost lost in grey.
We saw that, dying and in hopeless case,
For others' sake that day
He'd smothered all rebellious groans: in death
His fingers were tight clenched between his teeth.

For those who live uprightly and die true
Heaven has no bars or locks,
And serves all taste...or what's for him to do
Up there, but hunt the fox?
Angelic choirs? No, Justice must provide
For one who rose straight and in hunting died.

So if Heaven had no Hunt before he came,
Why, it must find one now:
If any shirk and doubt they know the game,
There's one to teach them how:
And the whole host of Seraphim complete
Must jog in scarlet to his opening Meet.

by Robert Graves
Gunship, West Africa

Umwáansi aguciira icoobo, Imáana ikaguciira icaanzo.
When an enemy digs a grave for you, God gives you an emergency exit

--Kirundi saying

Another day, another mission
Same sweat-stained flight suit
Same orders—hit and run.
Knock them on their ass and get out
Before they can shoot you down.
You know it’s just a game.
You’re playing chicken and the grand
Prize is that the winner keeps breathing.
So you strap in for another round
(At least boxers get to quit after ten.)
Add the numbers, odds now leaning in
The other team’s favor. The dice are in
Your hands and you can feel your run
Of lucky sevens is almost through.

Once you flew under a different flag and
Wore a different uniform. From where you sat
Though, the war looked the same as now.
Then, you actually believed the bullshit when
They pinned medals on your chest because you
Were so good at this. Godlike, you felt you
Owned the battle. That you were fighting for
A greater cause. Now you are even better.
Maybe its because you stopped believing the lies ,
Flying now only for the highest bidder.
Maybe it’s because now the battle owns you.

Pre-flight. Go robotic during lift off.
Don’t think. Just do. Try to numb down.
Mike smelling of yesterday’s stale beer
Stomach alive with liquid fire churning
As you clatter into Indian country.
Final checks are made and weapons control is
Switched to the red button on the control
Stick. Tell the rest of the crew, “Pucker up. “
Bank the helicopter sharply left. Then drop it
Hard into a gorge. This is the new foreplay.
Tons of metal responding passionately to the
Lightest touch of your hand. This is the
Closest you feel to anything anymore. Closer
Than to your crew. Closer than to the whore
Last night. Closer than to your wife when the
Marriage was still new and you thought the
Feel of her cool, scented skin was without

The chopper shudders and groans against the forces
Pulling her apart. Warning lights flicker against
Cyrillic letters. No time to worry. Just a
Quick Hail Mary that nothing big falls off.
Combat approach almost complete.
As the target ridge looms, haul back on
The stick and feel inertia punch against
Chest and arms as turbines scream
Struggling, shuddering for altitude,
Brushing the hill top trees sending
Great clouds of birds fleeing before
Dropping down into the rebel camp.

You yell “Target visual” on the intercom,
Flick off the cover, a single finger of pressure
And the helicopter shudders to a near stop
Mid-air with over a ton of recoil kicking from
The guns and rockets going volcanic all at once.
That cathartic release, the hit you crave
Each spiraling bullet a release from old nightmares
Each impact providing fodder for new ones
Huts, stick figures, and vehicles shred
And trees bend back from the blast and
The spray of dirt, blood, and shrapnel.
Something detonates into a ball of fire
That rolls quickly above the camp.

Cease fire and throttle up.
It’s your turn to get some as bullets clatter
Against armor plate and tracers flicker
Past the windscreen arcing towards the
Clouds. Adrenaline pumping faster,
Look for an escape route. There.
Put the stick hard over and bank sharp
Now the door gunners get their turn
To let fly streams of fire before you hot
Foot it back out of the kill zone.
Hug the ridge close and brush the trees again
To ruin the aim of any missile launchers.
Claw for speed. Pray no one has cross
Hairs on your ass or a warbling radar lock.
Run for cover, run for home.
Tomorrow’s another day.
Another round.

By Andreas Morgner
19th-Sep-2018 12:00 am - Phil Kirsch, 'Fallen'

What if the leaves
had faces
when they fell

and then
were swept away
like leaves,

forgotten souls
too many
to be mourned?

by Phil Kirsch
Thunder in the Valley

Before the morning call to prayer, just before the dawn.
On an outpost in the middle of nowhere. In a valley high above the clouds.
We smoked cigarettes and talked about life, as we pulled guard all night
The whistle of incoming mortar rounds shattered the morning sleep
They fired rounds from atop a hill in a place we couldn’t see
They didn’t have a chance, once our guns were ready
As the 120’s pounded round after round, thunder echoed across the valley.
Lightning flashed from the mortar pits as hell was on its way.
They couldn’t run. They couldn’t hide. All they could do was die.
We helped them meet those virgins on their way to the other side
They said that there was nothing left. Barren all around
No stone unturned, not a leaf on a tree. Not a living thing could be found
Nothing left but ghosts in a dream before the morning call to prayer.

By Steve Carlsen
The Chant of the Vultures

We are circling, glad of the battle: we joy in the smell of the smoke.
Fight on in the hell of the trenches: we publish your names with a croak!
Ye will lie in dim heaps when the sunset blows cold on the reddening sand;
Yet fight, for the dead will have wages—a death-clutch of dust in the hand.
Ye have given us banquet, O kings, and still do we clamor for more:
Vast, vast is our hunger, as vast as the sea-hunger gnawing the shore.

’Tis well ye are swift with your signals— the blaze of the banners, the blare
Of the bugles, the boom of battalions, the cannon-breath hot on the air.
It is for our hunger ye hurry, it is for our feast ye are met:
Be sure we will never forget you, O servants that never forget!
For we are the Spirits of Battle, the peerage of greed we defend:
Our lineage rose from the Night, and we go without fellow or friend.

We were ere our servant Sesostris spread over the Asian lands
The smoke of the blood of the peoples, and scattered their bones to the sands.
We circled in revel for ages above the Assyrian stream,
While Babylon builded her beauty, and faded to dust and to dream.
We scattered our laughter on nations— and Troy was a word and a waste,
The glory of Carthage was ruined, the grandeur of Rome was effaced!

And we blazoned the name of Timour, as he harried his herd of kings,
And the host of his hordes wound on, a dragon with undulant rings.
And we slid down the wind upon France, when the steps of the earthquake passed,
When the Bastile bloomed into flame, and the heavens went by on the blast.
We hung over Austerlitz, cheering the armies with jubilant cries:
We scented three kings at the carnage, and croaked our applause from the skies.

O kings, ye have catered to vultures— have chosen to feed us, forsooth,
The joy of the world and her glory, the hope of the world and her youth.
O kings, ye are diligent lackeys: we laurel your names with our praise,
For ye are the staff of our comfort, for ye are the strength of our days.
Then spur on the host in the trenches to give up the sky at a stroke:
We tell all the winds of their glory: we publish their fame with a croak!

by Edwin Markham
16th-Sep-2018 01:00 am - Adrian Salamon, 'Bomb'

The sky closes its arms in a tight embrace
The birds ceased to sing a long time ago
Your merciless hammers strike the anvil
Air sucked out of screaming lungs evaporates
Babies crawl lost, mothers weep bitter tears
The blood stained theatre of tragedy -
The choirs of pain sing in harmony
Reverberating through the skulls of the guilty few
Even the crickets refuse to chirp -
Their heads bow in solemn thought
The air thick with the stench of torn earth
and broken flesh
The nightmare has only just begun for them
This disease lingers for all to taste

by Adrian Salamon
Whether in the Garden or in the Orchard
(with the participation of the leaders in the wars, Franz-Josef and Wilhelm the Second.)

Whether in the garden or in the orchard,
We will sing a funny song.
Franz and Wilhelm, in front of everyone,
Have really shamed themselves.
For forty years Wilhelm secretly
Planned to wage war,
But he has had to make
A lot of flagrant mistakes.
He set off for Paris
To have a nice tasty lunch there,
But he ended up having to find victuals
A little closer to home.
As he approached Paris and all along the way
He came across Frenchmen.
And that Frenchman as a result
There in the West he had wanted to eat
His fill of Frenchmen,
But Wilhelm, turning to the devil,
Came to get the Russians.
But the Russians present a united front
Everything is going great.
They shoved some pepper
right where Wilhelm needed it.
Franz and Wilhelm
Are having terrible luck,
Our boys are beating him, the rogue,
On an hourly basis.
Without a backward glance
Our soldiers drove poor Franz,
From the border to the Carpathians, and
Only heels flashed before their eyes.
As leathernecks, Austrians
Are worth a lot,
So much so that our Cossacks
Really make ‘em sweat!
Just as soon as one of our Cossacks
Descends on these bloodsuckers,
The uniforms of all the Austrians
Get wet.
The Germans won’t forget this encounter
With us on the Neman.
We already know beforehand
Who is going to find victory!
Franz and Wilhelm, in front of everyone,
Prance through the prisons.
In the garden or in the orchard
They will dance together!

by “Bim-Bom”
14th-Sep-2018 01:00 am - Siegfried Sassoon, 'The Effort'
The Effort
'The effect of our bombardment was terrific. One man told me he had
never seen so many dead before.'--War Correspondent.

'He'd never seen so many dead before.'
They sprawled in yellow daylight while he swore
And gasped and lugged his everlasting load
Of bombs along what once had been a road.
'How peaceful are the dead.'
Who put that silly gag in some one's head?

'He'd never seen so many dead before.'
The lilting words danced up and down his brain,
While corpses jumped and capered in the rain.
No, no; he wouldn't count them any more...
The dead have done with pain:
They've choked; they can't come back to life again.

When Dick was killed last week he looked like that,
Flapping along the fire-step like a fish,
After the blazing crump had knocked him flat...
'How many dead? As many as ever you wish.
Don't count 'em; they're too many.
Who'll buy my nice fresh corpses, two a penny?'

By Siegfried Sassoon
13th-Sep-2018 01:00 pm - Farrah Sarafa, 'War Fire'
War Fire

High-wired and fuel ridden
their toes withdraw in fear
of dying.

What do you hear?
Gun shots, army trucks skidding tires
whose squeaks were once minaret adhan

Your grandparents are now buried beneath
the mountains of your sacred pasts,
the rubble of disturbed memories and
American deeds, what can we heed?

"Saddam, Saddam!" They cry out for the
despot whose regime was better
than the conditions are now.

Iraqis are dying, hundreds by the day
and here we stay watching films
whose figures spit on the fires of war
from so far away,
I cry to help put out the flames.

By Farrah Sarafa
13th-Sep-2018 01:00 am - Clint Black, 'Iraq And Roll'
Iraq And Roll

You can wave your signs and protest
against America taking a stand,
the stands America's taking
are the reason that you can.
If everyone would go for peace
there'd be no need for war.
But we can't ignore the devil,
he'll keep coming back for more.

Some see this in black and white,
others only gray.
We're not begging for a fight,
no matter what they say.
We have the resolution
that should put 'em all to shame.
It's a different kind of deadline
when I'm called in the game.

Iraq, I rack 'em up and I roll,
I'm back and I'm a hi-tech GI Joe.
I pray for peace, prepare for war
and I never will forget ~
there's no price too high for freedom
so be careful where you tread.
This terror isn't man to man,
they can be no more than cowards.
If they won't show us their weapons
we might have to show them ours.

Now it might be a smart bomb,
they find stupid people too.
If you stand with the likes of Saddam,
well, one might just find you.
Iraq, I rack 'em up and I roll,
I'm back and I'm a hi-tech GI Joe.
I got infrared, I got GPS,
I got that good old-fashioned lead.
No price too high for freedom,
so be careful where you tread.
Now you can come along
or you can stay behind

or you can get out of the way.
But our troops take out the garbage
for the good old USA.
Iraq, I rack 'em up and I roll.
for the USA.

By Clint Black

12th-Sep-2018 01:00 am - Joseph P. Wood, 'Sheep'

When the first plane hit the tower,
a good friend, in lower Manhattan,
was jerking off in a janitor’s closet.
He lived for indiscretion the way
the saints diligently lived for God,
but unlike them, never got nailed
for it: after almost impaling himself
on a broom, my friend stumbled out
onto the first floor, got the gist,
& walked thirty blocks back to Queens,
watching people disperse like ants
whose hole was trodden. A fleet of priests
marched toward from where he came—
my friend would deduce the next day—
to administer Last Rites. Seeing these
men’s solemn faces was nothing short
of believing that each priest lugged
a given borough’s sins like a pyramid
of corpses in a 15th century oxcart.
A former Medieval Studies student at Yale,
my friend had loved to ramble about
how Europe was founded on glumness,
its defining height was that of a rat.
A child might see one in a cobblestone alley,
& that was enough for the imp
to pitchfork his own lemon-sized heart.
my friend would say while guffawing
& rubbing his hands over some
imaginary flame, “his parents were giving
the time to some wheat-fed farmhand,
blue buboes on their inner thighs…”

I can’t tell you what became of my friend.
For awhile, he joked about how affordable
Battery Park would become, & then
moved west & into a different person
with a wife & responsibilities. Sometimes
his cocky, sidelong grin comes to me
like a lighthouse beyond my sleep—
I startle awake & know what a dark,
dark world we have made for ourselves.

By Joseph P. Wood
11th-Sep-2018 01:00 am - Robert Service, 'My Job'
My Job

I've got a little job on 'and, the time is drawin' nigh;
At seven by the Captain's watch I'm due to go and do it;
I wants to 'ave it nice and neat, and pleasin' to the eye,
And I 'opes the God of soldier men will see me safely through it.
Because, you see, it's somethin' I 'ave never done before;
And till you 'as experience noo stunts is always tryin';
The chances is I'll never 'ave to do it any more:
At seven by the Captain's watch my little job is . . . DYIN'.

I've got a little note to write; I'd best begin it now.
I ain't much good at writin' notes, but here goes: "Dearest Mother,
I've been in many 'ot old `do's'; I've scraped through safe some'ow,
But now I'm on the very point of tacklin' another.
A little job of hand-grenades; they called for volunteers.
They picked me out; I'm proud of it; it seems a trifle dicky.
If anythin' should 'appen, well, there ain't no call for tears,
And so . . . I 'opes this finds you well. -- Your werry lovin' Micky."

I've got a little score to settle wiv them swine out there.
I've 'ad so many of me pals done in it's quite upset me.
I've seen so much of bloody death I don't seem for to care,
If I can only even up, how soon the blighters get me.
I'm sorry for them perishers that corpses in a bed;
I only 'opes mine's short and sweet, no linger-longer-lyin';
I've made a mess of life, but now I'll try to make instead . . .
It's seven sharp. Good-bye, old pals! . . . A DECENT JOB IN DYIN'.

By Robert W. Service
9/11/2001 - The Excuse

Complete obliteration
Was this demolition
Three thousand humans lost
Seven buildings destroyed -
Two planes caused this?
Two buildings each a quarter mile tall
Each took only ten seconds to fall
What new laws of physics were enacted here?
Since when do planes reduce massive buildings to powder?

Death was used as a pretext for more death
Terror was given as the right to make more terror
Demolition was the excuse for war and abuse

The purveyors of death presented lies as truth
We responded by murdering human youth
How do we face our children knowing this sad truth?

By Claude H. Oliver
The Night Patrol
September 1918

Behind me on the darkened pier
They crowd and chatter, man and maid,
A coon-song gently strikes the ear,
A flapper giggles in the shade.
There where the in-turned lantern gleams
It shines on khaki and on brass;
Across its yellow slanting beams
The arm-locked lovers slowly pass.

Out in the darkness one far light
Throbs like a pulse, and fades away—
Some signal on the guarded Wight,
From Helen's Point to Bembridge Bay.
An eastern wind blows chill and raw,
Cheerless and black the waters lie,
And as I gaze athwart the haze,
I see the night patrol go by.

Creeping shadows blur the gloom,
Thicken and darken, pass and fade;
Again and yet again they loom,
One ruby spark above each shade—
Twelve ships in all! They glide so near,
One hears the wave the fore-foot curled,
And yet to those upon the pier
They seem some other sterner world.

The coon-song whimpers to a wail,
The treble laughter sinks and dies,
The lovers cluster on the rail,
With whispered words and straining eyes.
One hush of awe, and then once more
The vision fades for them and me,
And there is laughter on the shore,
And silent duty on the sea.

By Arthur Conan Doyle
9th-Sep-2018 12:00 pm - Rudyard Kipling, 'Troopin'
(Our Army in the East)

Troopin', troopin', troopin' to the sea:
'Ere's September come again -- the six-year men are free.
O leave the dead be'ind us, for they cannot come away
To where the ship's a-coalin' up that takes us 'ome to-day.

We're goin' 'ome, we're goin' 'ome,
Our ship is at the shore,
An' you must pack your 'aversack,
For we won't come back no more.
Ho, don't you grieve for me,
My lovely Mary-Ann,
For I'll marry you yit on a fourp'ny bit
As a time-expired man.

The Malabar's in 'arbour with the Jumner at 'er tail,
An' the time-expired's waitin' of 'is orders for to sail.
Ho! the weary waitin' when on Khyber 'ills we lay,
But the time-expired's waitin' of 'is orders 'ome to-day.

They'll turn us out at Portsmouth wharf in cold an' wet an' rain,
All wearin' Injian cotton kit, but we will not complain;
They'll kill us of pneumonia -- for that's their little way --
But damn the chills and fever, men, we're goin' 'ome to-day!

Troopin', troopin', winter's round again!
See the new draf's pourin' in for the old campaign;
Ho, you poor recruities, but you've got to earn your pay --
What's the last from Lunnon, lads? We're goin' there to-day.

Troopin', troopin', give another cheer --
'Ere's to English women an' a quart of English beer.
The Colonel an' the regiment an' all who've got to stay,
Gawd's mercy strike 'em gentle -- Whoop! we're goin' 'ome to-day.

We're goin' 'ome, we're goin' 'ome,
Our ship is at the shore,
An' you must pack your 'aversack,
For we won't come back no more.
Ho, don't you grieve for me,
My lovely Mary-Ann,
For I'll marry you yit on a fourp'ny bit
As a time-expired man.

by Rudyard Kipling
9th-Sep-2018 01:00 am - Richard Aldington, 'Two Impressions'
Two Impressions
In France (1916–1918)

The colorless morning glides upward
Over the marsh and ragged trees.

Though our mood be sombre
And our bodies angry for more sleep,
This feathered softness of pale light,
Falling negligently upon us,
Delights us.

High above the drab barren ground
Three herons beat across the dawn-blue sky.
They drift slowly away
Until they appear
As three horizontal umber brush-strokes
On finely shaded cobalt.
And the mist, driven by the wind
Up and across the distant hill,
Gleams like soft white hair
Brushed amorously backward!

By Richard Aldington
9th-Sep-2018 01:00 am - Rise Against, 'Broken English"
Broken English

Our buildings have fallen, our walls all caved in,
And we can't comprehend this sad state that we're in
So we sift through the ashes of what we've become
And surrender here one by one, so push us down

And we get right back up again,
The things you're telling me aren't making any sense,
Right back up again,
I'm sick of wishing for someone else to come

Let the blind lead the blind,
Cause it's eye for an eye
In your so called life,
Are you out there? are you listening?
Is there something we're still missing?

Let the blind lead the blind,
Cause it's eye for an eye,
We all fall down

And we get right back up again,
The things you're telling me aren't making any sense,
Right back up again,
I'm sick of wishing for someone else to come

We're spinning out of control
We're trying to find somewhere to land
And I don't want you to know
The things that keep me down

Cause we get right back up again,
The things you're telling me aren't making any sense,
Right back up again,
I'm sick of wishing for someone else to come

By 'Rise Against'

8th-Sep-2018 01:00 am - Jack Harshaw, 'No Time For Love'
No Time For Love

You call it the law, we call it apartheid, internment, conscription, partition and silence.
It’s the law that they make to keep you and me where they think we belong.
They hide behind steel and bullet-proof glass, machine guns and spies,
And tell us who suffer the tear gas and the torture that we’re in the wrong.

No time for love if they come in the morning,
No time to show tears or for fears in the morning,
No time for goodbye, no time to ask why,
And the sound of the siren’s the cry of the morning.

They suffered the torture, they rotted in cells, went crazy, wrote letters and died.
The limits of pain they endured – the loneliness got them instead.
And the courts gave them justice as justice is given by well-mannered thugs.
Sometimes they fought for the will to survive but more times they just wished they were dead.

They took away Sacco, Vanzetti, Connolly and Pearce in their time.
They came for Newton and Seal, Bobby Sands and some of his friends.
In Boston, Chicago, Saigon, Santiago, Warsaw and Belfast,
And places that never make headlines, the list never ends.

The trade-union leaders, the writers, the fighters, the rebels at dawn
And the women who fought with the scabs at the factory gates,
The sons and the daughters of unnumbered heroes who paid with their lives,
And the poor folk whose class or creed or belief was their only mistake,

They tell us that here we are free to live our lives as well as we please
To march, to write and to sing so long as we do it alone
But say it or do it with comrades united and strong
And they'll take you for a long rest with walls and barbed wire for your home,

The boys in blue are only a few of the everyday cops on the beat,
The C.I.D., Branchmen, informers and spies do their jobs just as well;
Behind them the men who tap phones, take photos, program computers and files,
And the man who tells them when to come and take you to your cell.

All of you people who give to your sisters and brothers the will to fight on,
They say you can get used to a war, that doesn’t mean that the war isn’t on.
The fish need the sea to survive, just like your people need you.
And the death squad can only get through to them if first they can get through to you.

No time for love if they come in the morning,
No time to show tears or for fears in the morning,
No time for goodbye, no time to ask why,
And the sound of the siren’s the cry of the morning.

By Jack Harshaw

7th-Sep-2018 01:00 am - Ivor Gurney, 'Toussaints'

Like softly clanging cymbals were
Plane-trees, poplars Autumn had
Arrayed in gloriously sad
Garments of beauty wind-astir;
It was the day of all the dead -

Toussaints. In sombre twos and threes
Between those coloured pillars went
Drab mourners. Full of presences
The air seemed . . . ever and anon rent
By slow bell's solemnities.

The past year's gloriously dead
Came, folk dear to that rich earth
Had given them sustenance and birth,
Breath and dreams and daily bread,
Took labour-sweat, returned them mirth.

Merville across the plain gleamed white,
The thronged still air gave never a sound,
Only, monotonous untoned
The bell of grief and lost delight.
Gay leaves slow fluttered to the ground.

Sudden, that sense of peace and prayer
Like vapour faded. Round the bend
Swung lines of khaki without end . . . .
Common was water, earth and air;
Death seemed a hard thing not to mend.

By Ivor Gurney (September 1918)
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