Tuesday, November 29, 2016


An American soldier
        in Vietnam, still "unravelling"
        after all these years, is told by
        his wife that the branches they
        both see are "only branches",
        not sky crossed in barbed-wire.

An English soldier
        in France, still paces behind the
        wagons of his dreams, still sees
        those "white eyes writhing". When
        he dies, the citation says he "inflicted
        considerable losses to the enemy".        

An Israeli soldier
        in Palestine, refuses to fly, says
        the word - occupation - finds a
        hole in the skies he knew too well.
        Others in the unit whet conscience
        on fear, call him names, disappear.
An Indian soldier
        in Kashmir, uncovers his wound.
        One, in the Rashtriya Rifles unit
        runs "amok in the wee hours, killing
        five soldiers before killing himself".
        Officers claim "inadequate leave".

(thanks to Bruce Weigl and Wilfred Owen)

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