Two poems from the forgotten generations (Reposts, the audio is pertinent)

https://wolfgarwords.com/category/war-and-remembrance/

 

What beauty comes of war

 

What beauty comes of war

from all that’s black as blood

from damaged mind and broken bone

 

What beauty comes of war

 

What beauty comes of ugliness

from torment trapped in blinding light

from silver landscapes blasted white

 

What beauty comes of war

 

Yet how remembrance uses it

the flags and slow lament

with dignity and gratitude and scarlet sentiment

 

Is beauty in the orphan child

a mind insane

a lonesome soul

 

Is beauty in a life bereft

to live without a love

to sleep alone and cold

 

If yes a terrible beauty comes of war

 

But grim remembrance bares the truth

of beauty never seen

whilst only those with scars are proof 

to those who’ve never been

 

 

 

Štimlje revisited (unseen casualties) 

 

Travelling across open flatland toward Štimlje the ground begins to rise.

Driving on through the tight enclosed lanes of the town to the far side as if to leave,

a battered overgrown compound looms into view, its heavy mesh fences collapsing and dilapidated in parts. 

 

This is Štimlje Mental Asylum. The patients are unable or unwilling to leave, they have been abandoned left to fend for themselves or die.

The staff have fled because this is a war zone.

Snow lays in muddy patches around about, stained with shit and blood.

A slug-like legless form drags itself through excrement seemingly going nowhere fast,

its insane leer and wolf-like howling splits the cold air, this thing is human.

 

Horror descends. 

 

We continue systematically on foot, through unlit grey buildings and rooms, behind each door a shocking portal to another circle of hell.

Women, children, half animals, intermittent screeching barking and yelps. 

Self harming, open wounds, and the gut wrenching stench of filth.

 

In one room no bigger than a single garage space, at least fifty naked forms stand silently shivering.

They stare out of hollow skulls straight through me as I stand silhouetted in the doorway. 

They seem to be mostly men its hard to tell, their emaciated bodies look sexless.

Upon closer inspection there are a few women present, Jesus! What might have happened to them in here? Their hair is matted in clumps. 

 

There were just four of us a small recce team we could do nothing we had nothing, we were staring into hell and were struck dumb by it.

We drove in Silence back to Pristina not one single fucking word.

 

I was strong, fit, able in mind and body. I was in my late thirties and this wasn’t my first war.

 

I got back to a quiet place and hid myself, I cried and shook like a pathetic child, big tough fucking soldier eh?

 

And sometimes that is how war fucks you, slowly. Either that or you get blown to shit.

 

Who would write poetry about that?

◄ Night Sailing

A Juggernaut requires Bureaucracy ►

Comments

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Wolfgar Miere

Tue 16th Jul 2019 19:45

Having reviewed the comments on this submission and having received several private messages I just wanted to say thanks again.

Thanks also to all those who sent flowers.

David.

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Wolfgar Miere

Tue 16th Jul 2019 07:29

Thanks Ray and again to Devon,

Ray your comments regarding exposing people to war zones put a smile on my face.

I had/have a raging anger in me when witnessing and reflecting on the aftermath of conflict, sometimes whilst still in the event and sometimes far removed by time from it...my anger never diminishes.

I would rage that I wanted to push the faces of politicians and seemingly ignorant civilians into the blood and guts I could see before me with my own eyes, I can't fully describe that anger or frustration...but it actually made me want to kill, which rather highlights the fact that violence can only breed more violence, that personal acknowledgement helped me come to terms with my own anger.

That said, though I have come to terms with it it has not dissipated with time. My anger is useful to me and feeds my conviction that war and conflict though apparently sometimes necessary are a result of failure and an indulgence in futility.

Devon, thanks for your thoughts on this. In most recent times this has been one of the more productive conversations I have had on WoL, which is good...isn't it?

David.

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Devon Brock

Mon 15th Jul 2019 22:06

David,

What is most edifying about your comments here, at least to me, is this: "There is a need for us all to constantly remind ourselves that this medium does not convey our thoughts in their entirety and that things can easily be misinterpreted an/or misunderstood."

This, I think, is especially important when we attempt to convey, plainly, or you think "plainly", a sensitive message. It is one thing to spill out some innocuous imagery onto the page and call it a day. I am more than guilty on that front. But, when entering into certain territories, spilling out is not enough. Careful consideration of each word, each line for precision and clarity of meaning/intent is of tantamount importance.

Thank you for this conversation.

D

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raypool

Mon 15th Jul 2019 10:59

Hi David. If you can peel back the layers of complacency in such stark and considered poems you will have made a mark. These are rides through impossible places which can never be experienced other than first hand. It is a miracle to survive such horror unscathed, a tribute to your powers of regeneration. Perhaps the public would be best served by a visit to war zones rather than love island or celebrity get me out of here but we know that suffering at a safe distance is ok as long as we are protected.


The two poems are marked by contrast and wisely have different focuses. Like fine photographs they convey that sense of depth as well as immediacy.


Keep well. Ray

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Wolfgar Miere

Mon 15th Jul 2019 05:41

Thanks for contributing here Devon I am so pleased you passed by.

As I mentioned to you previously I didn't doubt your good intention whatsoever, and I understand how easy it is to develop a thought into something else without necessarily being aware of it.

There is a need for us all to constantly remind ourselves that this medium does not convey our thoughts in their entirety and that things can easily be misinterpreted an/or misunderstood, in fact I suspect that my audio track for these poems may well have been misunderstood by some who have heard it. Consequently I am especially grateful to Devon for joining me publicly here as an example of understanding and finding common ground.

The important thing about Devon's poem was/is the main thrust of its meaning...that being a sense of gratitude on behalf of us all.

Thanks to all,

David.

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Devon Brock

Sun 14th Jul 2019 22:36

David, I can only second Martin's comments. I also invite anyone to check out your website. It is stunningly beautiful and well cared for.

But, my main purpose in commenting is on the audio file you so graciously took the time to make. I get the gyst of it. The poem was meant to honor those that have served, an observance of scars really, but I understand your point about turning it inward. I will be editing the final lines of the poem to avoid any confusion about the poems intent. Again, thank you for taking the time to share your your thoughts.

D

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Wolfgar Miere

Sun 14th Jul 2019 22:34

Thank you Martin. (Revised comment)

I felt the need to revise my previous comment here, so I have taken my own advice as what I wrote was not particularly helpful to the conversation.

So thank you Martin, all I will say now is that revisiting these poems is never as straight forward as it might seem.

The poem about Stimlje takes me right back there, although it was not the most disturbing thing I saw during my service it is one of the most haunting. Recalling it and especially reading that piece is bloody exhausting, it's as if every time I recite the words I lose a little of my super-powers...seriously draining.

Any way..there we go, done now.

Thanks again.

David.

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Martin Elder

Sun 14th Jul 2019 16:07

The title of the first poem sums it all up for me, particularly with the repeating of certain lines.

The second poem I think I remember from before, a startling reminder of what has gone and what people are so readily able to do to another group of people. Sadly none of us are immune to or untouched by this. Thank you for once again being real about your experiences and in what you right. relay sobering stuff.
Cheers
Martin

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