[lit-ideas] Re: The Poetry of War

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2004 19:06:54 -0700

on 6/10/04 6:46 PM, John McCreery at mccreery@xxxxxxx wrote:

Nicholas D. Kristof
> =A0=A0=A0=A0The New York Times
> =A0=A0=A0=A0Wednesday 09 June 2004
> =A0=A0=A0=A0If the world leaders at the G-8 summit meeting want to =
> understand=20
> the war in Iraq, they should look beyond the war plans and U.N.=20
> resolutions. The most incisive analysis of war has often come from=20
> poets, like Homer or Wilfred Owen.

I think Kristof misleads us by waving around Homer and Owen.  I have read
gobs of both published and unpublished writing from the First World War.
Dross is the norm, the kind of stuff that plays to the ears and tears of the
era.  Try this, a few steps above, from the published work of Lieut. Raymond
Heywood, a collection titled, "Roses, Pearls and Tears."  (I bought it
because I loved the cover illustration by J. Hancock and I wanted a sample
of the "also rans.")

A Man's Man

(To ******** Killed in Action)

I called his name--he did not heed my calling,
I tried to feel his hand grip mine again;
O God, I could not keep the tears from falling
Although I smiled to hide the bitter pain.

All that is past, but still I hear his laughter--
Glad echoes from the days before he went,
I did not know such pain could follow after
His splendid life so true and nobly spent.

He was a man...I linger where his cross
Shines white among the shadows, and I know
My very soul is strengthened by my loss,
My comrade still in death--I loved him so.

David Ritchie
Portland, Oregon

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