(broken skin) we were told not to mourn the dead

by Richard Paez

and what of warriors
weaned in a world without war?
they become poets
and perverts

in the halls of the long dead
they warned us not to mourn
those who had fallen in battle,
not until the war was over,
lest we too became food
for the grasses

with each passing night
the trenches grew deeper
and with each passing day
filled back to surface level
flowing thick with the bodies
of our brothers

we fought for their promises
of a world without wars
but we knew not but of war
nothing but war and the promises
the promises made sanguine in trenches

forgotten, yet we fought on
not for peace but for their promises
of a world without wars

of long days and short nights, we knew not
of soft lips and wild flowers, we knew not
of graveyards and hearth fires, we knew not

we knew not but of war

and what of warriors
wasting in a world without war?
we become poets and perverts

{Published in the "Eyrie" literary magazine, Tallahassee Community College, 2001}


Posted on 09/28/2001
Copyright © 2020 Richard Paez

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Michele Schottelkorb on 12/08/03 at 08:05 AM

incredible... profound and thought provoking... your message i hear loud and clear... blessings...

Posted by Jason Moskalyk on 11/21/08 at 11:57 AM

" our war is a spiritual one . "

Posted by George Hoerner on 02/02/11 at 09:41 PM

And yet they go on and on and on for the promises don't stop. They are just words no one understands except those with the guns for the rest it is all ritual and maybe, just maybe, so are the wars. Very nicely done!!

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