Casualties of War
I can feel the gnawing in my gut again,
that anxious roiling that keeps me awake.
Knots and tangles like snakes,
slithering in the pit of my belly,
consume my attention and steal my thoughts.
What peace is there in this roiling?
What comfort is there in such conflict?
My sleep is stolen away
and my eyes find no rest.
My soul aches in turmoil.
Oh, this banging of my head against the wall!
This incessant battle!
When can it end
that I may once again find serenity?
Oh, this engagement of arms
and of words like volleys
back and forth over enemy lines.
In your pursuit for peace
I am found in the middle
where the dead lay all around me,
caught in the crossfire of a struggle
for power and control,
but to what end??!!
What good will come of this bloodshed?
The lines are drawn and there is no surrender.
Sides have been chosen
and the call to arms has been made -
every man to his weapon
and every weapon to its target.
There will be no survivors,
no prisoners of war.
Life for life until no man is standing.
Eye for eye becomes full grown
so that death is the only victory.
But what victory is there in death?
What bold and courageous claim do the slain make from their graves?
What triumph is there when words like swords
cut the throats of the innocent and guilty alike?
And what of the casualties of war?
What of those whose lives hang in the balance,
who in innocence depend of the strength
of those who fight,
to fight not for themselves,
but instead for those they swore to protect.
But there can be no truce
and no white flags of surrender.
There is no retreat.
For we will fight this war until the end
and pray for forgiveness
as we pick up the pieces.
Are we so consumed with ourselves?