"Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness."
Khalil Gibran

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Good Life

I am ready to carry you
away from the execution line, yes,
this is real, no joke.
Dennis Etzel Jnr

World War 1 photograph colourised by
Frédéric Duriez (Daily Mail)



XVIII

You are waiting for the parade, for a singular view of the barrel-chested General with his double row of brass buttons and luxuriant moustache. You notice your fingernails – or rather the way each is rimmed with clotted blood or rust or red earth. Not easy to be certain. But you pick at them, one nail under the other. Best to practise a clean salute. The wait is longer than you expected. The triumphal procession through empty villages must not lose a modicum of pomp, even when the top dogs must pick their way over the bridges you blasted last month. So you rest a knee against the sandbags and enjoy the weak sunshine, oblivious to the scant rainbow over your shoulder. No need to contemplate defeat when slaughter has become synonymous with ‘the good life’.
Best you stifle that yawn.


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Izy Gruye is hosting the prompt Over // Under // Through in the Imaginary Garden.

Lines quoted from This Removed Utopia We Called Kansas by Dennis Etzel Jnr, featured on Nice Cage Issue 03

Picture Credit:
French lines on the right bank of the Seille being held by the 150th Infantry Regiment, 5th Battalion in Port-sur-Seille, Meurthe-et-Moselle, in March 1918, in one of many First World War images colourised by graphic artist Frédéric Duriez. Used here under Fair Use Principles. If the owner or publisher of the image objects to its appearing on this blog, please contact the owner.  

18 comments:

  1. Woah! Best you stifle that yawn. Chilling.

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  2. The vagaries of war. This is a thoughtful piece.

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  3. Bone chilling!!!

    Happy Easter Monday; Wishes that our hope in Peace continues

    much love...

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    1. 'There will be war, and rumours of war.'
      In such times, I believe we all hope for peaceful times to return to every nation.

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  4. This is beautifully haunting, Kerry. Especially "You notice your fingernails – or rather the way each is rimmed with clotted blood or rust or red earth" left me absolutely breathless!

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  5. Wow. You have captured the dailyness of war. This poem has impact.

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  6. I'm always impressed with your set-up...a lovely introductory quote to introduce setting, a picture for scene, and then your words for the meat

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    1. Thanks, Angie. I have been using quotes this month as a small tribute to the poets that inspire, and as a way of keeping my focus. It is not my usual practice.

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  7. Nice. I love the voice in this.

    And I am loving all your intro quotes this month.

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  8. The way you put us in the mind of that soldier ...

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  9. Terrifying and so sad. Very vivid, Kerry. Well done. The quotes work so well for you. k.

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  10. So we wake up to the truth of it. More are seeing the rainbow.

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  11. You've captured the essence of a soldier

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  12. The dull routine spiked with gore, or mud, and pomp-ass generallissimo's who want gold carriages through London... you've caught it here ~

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  13. Fun reading, but still serious is my opinion. Most of it reminds me of the times in London we had waiting for a small or large glimpse of the Queen as she passed. The last time she was riding her carriage over to address Parliment as it open. The most fleeting was one day when she was leaving Balmoral Castle in her Range Rover.
    ..

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    1. Oh yes, no "slaughter" was involved in our episodes. Hunting excluded, please.
      ..

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  14. Is it possible you've stumbled upon your own new genre: pre-dystopia. My friend, I know there is much dark in the world these days, and how we suffer from lack of light. Here you've exposed the shadows for what they are: in plain, real images and enough counter-whimsy to remind the day dreamers that we are not the only ones with designs on blotting out the sun. I love this piece from beginning to end. Thanks so much for posting! Oh, and P.S....I was so happy to see you use that line from Dennis's poem. That one stood out to me and made me cry the first time I read his work. Viva la, just viva la.

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Let's talk about it.