Friday, 8 April 2016

Victory, Hard Won OR Peace, Soft Target


Today’s poem was first published in Poetry Monthly International, August 2009 [A UK poetry journal, discontinued in 2008] and subsequently in my collection the following year. 

Now, it is not only courage and a sense of duty on which the professionalism of men and women around the world fighting for peace and justice turns but also - perhaps especially - discipline. While no poem of mine can hope to do them justice, I felt it appropriate in this instance to employ the discipline of a villanelle

On the face of it, every war and conflict has its winners and losers. Yet, to win or lose is rarely as simple as victory or defeat. Whatever, is it not to the world's everyday heroes fighting for a better, kinder, safer, world - while being moved about on this or that Battle Front like pieces on a chessboard by those more concerned with playing power games - to whom humanity owes the greater debt?

Most of us enjoy peace and quiet at times when we can be reflective about people and places dear to us, past and present, escaping (if only temporarily) from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We should reflect, too, on those men and women to whom we owe such precious moments, so many of whom suffered injury and death so that (hopefully) their people might (eventually) live in peace and quiet; something of which (far) too many in this world of ours can (still) only dream.

VICTORY, HARD WON or PEACE, SOFT TARGET

On old Memory Lane, all is quiet
for those who fought a war to end war
so we may make our peace with it

Among cries of the fallen, a shout,
(At ‘em lads, at ‘em, that’s the score!)
On old Memory Lane all is quiet

They bore old age, faces firmly set
to do them proud who had gone before
so we may make our peace with it

We will always be in their debt,
dead and wounded on a foreign shore;
on old Memory Lane all is quiet

We must never even try to forget
those whose freedom’s colours wore,
so we may make our peace with it

War, war and still more of it yet;
on the landscape of love, a weeping sore;
on old Memory Lane, all is quiet
so we may make our peace with it

Copyright R. N. Taber 2009; 2016

[From: On the Battlefields of Love by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2010; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

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