NaPoWriMo 09 – day 25


How to Remember

Build yourself a soldier. More than one.
Take sticks, stones, mud – all of these
are traditional materials. Use them.
Also paper, blood, children, trees,

fertile fields, peaceful towns –
whatever gets the job done. Call
for patriots. For nationalists.
For right-minded citizens. All

manner of materials – you’re
in the army business now.
Paint them olive. Paint them khaki.
Paint them desert-cammo brown.

Use your wits. Use your brain.
Use your teeth, your nails, your fists.
Use philosophy, psychology,
make up slogans, make up lists,

make up enemies and axies,
make up intelligence reports
make it with us or against us
make it hearts and minds and shock and awe

and that’s good – you’re nearly ready.
Good – you smell their pain.
Now back into your nightmares
and begin it all again.


Triggered by Read Write Poem’s prompt #25: A How-to Poem.

Crude, I know. But today is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, and it’s hard not to look around and feel despair at the almighty mess we as a species keep getting ourselves into. (Pick a war, any war …) And tired despair doesn’t equate to “good quick poem”.

I have friends in the armed forces, and I do understand the need for war in some circumstances. But one of the things Ian Hamilton wrote a hundred years ago still holds true: you fight to win, as quickly and with as little damage as possible. 

How quickly we forget.

2 Replies to “NaPoWriMo 09 – day 25”

  1. Not crude at all – I think it is actually quite powerful. “Powerful” and “subtle” don’t always go well together, after all.
    Did you backdate your posts? Last night (Sunday) I didn’t see any after the 23rd and now suddenly there are three more.

    1. I do occasionally – if I haven’t had a chance to get to the computer to finish the post. (Saturday and Sunday, for example, which didn’t get posted until Monday.) But the other thing that seems to be playing fast and loose with the timestamps is the difference in timezones between WordPress HQ and Christchurch. I’d stuffed up setting the new timezone when we came out of daylight saving … (blush)

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