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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Victories of Silence

A British soldier of 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers sits on a destroyed bridge abutment during a pause in the stripping out of a military bridge in the Rumaylah oilfields, Iraq

1

Iraq is a blood transfusion;
a spirited bleeding in the dark of day,
uncivilised and unfair, where the morning
may still break melodramatically,
with explosions that systematically root out
those still living to wake to lesser

days now stifled; birdsong is silenced --
in a land where writing emerged
thousands of years ago to transfer
ideas to epochs on the go --
the talk of ideas are now labelled as
dangerous ideology rifled;

2

hopes are wrapped up, or unwrapped in dreams,
like lovers now old remembering
the ways they would walk
on moonlit nights, before the militia's calls
of rocket-grenades came in response
to the Allied troops on arrival,

their bickering stretches across the land
like evening shadows swallowing the earth,
the winner loots history, and its land;
in a system dismantled, where the chaos made --
like the Pope's sack of Constantinople
during the Fourth Crusade --

is always by a fervent, heavy hand;
and raped by dictator and saviour alike,
cultures are contaminated to protect
the interest of others, and their future,
even though humanity be blasted --
and reconstructed -- in strike after strike;

3

and though time will sweep away
the debris, and though some old buildings
will remain, they all die inside,
and the dead will stand guard outside,
while those inside busily build
memorials in place of those knocked down,

but how many generations will it take,
to free civilians and soldiers
from the gun smoke in their veins?
in expectation of the silence that will one day
come, louder than the roar that went before,
as it is with all war, the only victory ever made.

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