It Was Not A Conflict

Written for:  dVerse Poets Pub - Poetics:  War Poetry
(posted by Bjorn)

"War poetry has a long history going back to Homer and before. Actually the oldest piece of literature, the Gilgamesh epos, is at least partly about war. For many years the focus was telling the tale about heroism and (perhaps) victories. Poetry was about writing for the winner. For me, the charge of the light brigade represents something new, the heroic loss, which paves the way for later perspectives into the soldier’s view rather than the victorious general." 

"Write a war poem."

Why were we going
to war?  Why would
we want to kill
one half of a country
having nothing to do 
with us?  The Draft
was passed.  Like a
lottery, you either had 
a high number (less chance 
to be called up) or a lower
number.  No college,
no reprieve.

Protests proliferated
throughout the country;
some moved to Canada.
Our youth was tossed
into Hell.  Friends
were blown up
in plain sight.  Drugs
were rife–for some, 
the only way to make
it through without
being able to justify
it.  Thousands wounded
or dead.

For those who returned,
desperate for help, their
government turned a blind
eye.  Now that ignorance
comes home to roost.  Flash-
backs, Agent Orange, PTSD,
suicides.  Saddest of all
is the fact that nothing
was won on either side.
We should never have
been there at all. 

About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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13 Responses to It Was Not A Conflict

  1. robtkistner says:

    That was my 60’s Sara, well written.


  2. Helen Dehner says:

    As I’ve mentioned in other comments, Vietnam destroyed our family ~~~ and countless others as well.


  3. Really powerful poem.
    I walked along the Vietnam war memorial in DC on a trip to the US years ago, and was just stunned by the number of names, and was in tears by the time I got to the end. It was just staggering.
    In Vietnam it’s known as the American War.


  4. merrildsmith says:

    Sadly, so very true.


  5. memadtwo says:

    That about sums it up. And we just keep repeating our mistakes. If there was still a draft, we might not have gotten so involved in our present unwinnable conflicts. (K)


  6. Kathleen says:

    Amen !!


Comments are closed.