Category Archives: war

Where Now The Sword – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

At dVerse Sanaa is hosting poetics with an invitation to explore the genre of panegyric poetry.

dVerse Poets – Poetics

Priam Pleading with Achilles for the Body of Hector ?engraved 1775 Gavin Hamilton 1723-1798 http://www.tate.org.uk

“I’ve seen this moment in my dreams.” Hector (Iliad – by Homer)

Where Now The Sword

Galant Hector,
even under the mantle of Achilles,
you are ever the evening star,
beyond the dark sweetness of death,
where songs regale your courage
and the gods dare drink your health,
where now the arrow, where now the
sword that could spite your flesh,
no grey for your hallowed head,
ever the memory of your youth,
your integrity in death
untrammelled by Achilles.


Copyright 2021 ©Paul Vincent Cannon
All Rights Reserved ®

Note: Homer's (the accepted author) poetic epic the Iliad is an a mazing piece of literature. In my view Achilles cheats and acts out of rage (grief) killing Hector, then dishonours the body until begged by Priam for the return of his son Hector's body. Hector seeks honour, mercy and justice, Achilles seeks revenge.

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Filed under Free Verse, life, Mythology, poem, quote, war

Just Following Orders – prose by Paul Vincent Cannon

At Dverse Ingrid is hosting Prosery with an invitation to use a line from William Blake’s poem ‘The Chimney Sweeper’ – “If all do their duty, they need not fear harm.”

dVerse Poets – Prosery – Doing Our Duty

Public domain photo of Adolf Eichmann.

“Being evil is only something that only humans are capable of.” Jane Goodall

Just Following Orders

In 1960 an architect appeared in court in down town Jerusalem charged with crimes against humanity. He was the architect of the Holocaust, his defence was banal, he claimed immunity because he was only following orders.

Who never questions motive? Who believes they are perfect and above the law?And who never effects harm on others? But of those who excelled in following orders, no matter how perverted, Adolf Eichmann stands apart as intentionally evil, and more so because of his claim that he was just following orders. And, so, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm? really? Think slavery. Think Eichman, think Vietnam War, Think Derek Chauvin, think so many.

Our actions always affect others, and where there is evil the effect is always negative. Harm comes to those in the orbit of such people. Just listen to Holocaust survivors.

Copyright 2021 ©Paul Vincent Cannon

All Rights Reserved ®

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Filed under awareness, death, history, injustice, justice, life, prose, quote, war

Whispering Suicide – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

At dVerse Bjorn has invited us to write about war. dVerse Poets – Poetics – War Poetry

Photo: Jim Huylebroek for the New York Times

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Plato

Whispering Suicide

Cheap little saccharine songs for mud,
manufactured jingles to make you numb 
to death, mixed ideologies competing for your 
mind, hollow promises for free, tacky coloured 
rectangles of cloth whispering suicide to the 
flesh of youth who dream of becoming,
who are the heroes in this  moral 
vacuum of life's bitter ebb, where
are the children of this rancid death 
cult now.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

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For What? – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

At dVerse Sarah is hosting Poetics with an invitation to share a poem that has called to us, affected us in some way, positively or otherwise, and to write a poem in response. dVerse Poets – Poetics – A Conversation

Photo: Ben Kerckx, pixabay.com

I have chosen Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ and riffed on that a little. I despise war and I see it as a failure of humanity to sit down together. Wilfred Owen fought in the British army in WW1 and died at the age of 25 in 1918 one week before war’s end. For a detailed biography see The Wilfred Owen Association

Anthem For Doomed Youth     by Wilfred Owen

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- only monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

“Men make war to get attention. All killing is an expression of self-hate.” Alice Walker

For What?

Passion flowered blue in the fields of sheets
set for their love of each other and,
soon enough, their fruit was ripe for picking,
the suckling ripped from breast to trench,
unprotected by the hollow words of those
faceless ones who send anyone but themselves,
valorised by suited cowards and coercive saints,
left alone in mud, and cold, diseased;
grief flowered red in the fields of France,
as life bled out for the shame of piety
voiced in cathedrals of death.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

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Filed under death, Free Verse, grief, history, life, poem, quote, war

But Not Today – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Photo: dailymail.co.uk Still shot from the movie 1984

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.” Montesquieu

But Not Today

How clever
the con of flags and
their purveyors who 
valorise sacrifice for 
ideologies that dribble
like bird shit down 
lifeless, barren statues,
testimonies to a violence
nurtured by cunning liars
who consume our flesh,
but not today,
today we burn your flag
repudiating your death cult,
and beat your statues into
life-giving vessels bearing 
gifts of life and love that
set us free to determine
that no one will die this day
for the sickness that is a 
canker in your fetid heart.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

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The Secret Fantasy – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

 Climate ActivistsdVerse Poets – Poetics – Secrets

Merril at dVerse has invited us to consider writing a poem about secrets.

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Photo: Courier Mail: October 2019, 50 Climate Activists arrested in Melbourne.

“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.”  Che Guevara

The Secret Fantasy

To take a life
even for a cause,
how does one do that with any ease
that it never haunts,
eternally wounding the self,
twisting bowel and heart in
feverish spasms of regret,
causing clever mind plays
of robust justification,
all those greats who advocated
against that dark horror
even baring their own chests to
the chance of bullets
without reproach,
and my life has been persuaded
of that very path, and yet,
there are those days of longing
to come out of Kinshasa,
to leave the mountains of Bolivia,
to wear the beret once again
and to strike at the heart of the
corpulent monster strangling the world.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

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Beautiful Advocate – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

5 Lines – Beautiful

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Photo: Getty Images. Princess Dianna sitting with amputees, victims of landmines, Angola, 1997. Dianna as many will remember ignited opposition to the use of landmines which resulted in the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty and drew attention to the work of the Halo Trust whose work is clearing mines and advocacy against mines and weapons of war. She had that inner beauty, photos of her shaking hands with lepers, sitting with HIV sufferers, visiting homeless shelters and os on. I’m not a monarchist, but her work was of a different order.

“I’d read the statistics that Angola has the highest percentage of amputees anywhere in the world … that one person in every 333 had lost a limb, most of them through land mine explosions. But that hadn’t prepared me for the reality.”  Dianna Spencer

 

Beautiful  Advocate

So beautiful, those legs, her …
And such a mind, but O her heart,
her beauty drew the cameras,
merely a stage for the inner beauty
of her compassion for the world.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

 

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No Solution – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

RDP Sunday – Realm

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Photo: cnn.com

 

“A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”  Tacitus

No Solution

The husk of man,
for it is a man rather than a woman,
is forever drained and dry,
burnt in the blinking of an eye
across the fields of loss and grief,
where the butcher’s hand is never stayed,
and the slice is always close to the bone
with the relentless search for
the cure of fear, which, as always
readily falls to cycles of war,
now favoured by the killing of a man
who was food as friend,
and sent to to the heavenly realm
of the great cloud of witnesses
who pray over our esteemed
and utter madness for blood to be
wasted on the unforgiving rocks of dogma.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

 

 

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Is Nothing Learned? – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

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Photo: alleghenycampus.com: human chess.

 

“Chess can be described as the movement of pieces eating one another.”   Marcel Duchamp

 

Is Nothing Learned?

Knight takes bishop,
queen takes knight,
pawn takes pawn and
blocks the rook,
on and on
and so it goes,
tit for tat
soon everything falls,
is nothing learned,
is no one heard?
It’s not the winning
or a surrender,
surely,
and I hope,
it is letting all things be.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

 

 

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Life Became Him – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

5 Lines – Exchanges

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Photo: Auschwitz 1, the former Polish army barracks which the SS commandeered as a prison for Polish army officers, Poles, Jews, subversives, and others. This is a substantial complex of brick multi-story blocks, unlike Auschwitz 2, which was mostly wooden blocks. I found the place sombre and still, a place of  confronting horror. This is the place where the Catholic priest and subversive Maximilian Kolbe exchanged places with a young Jewish man because he was a husband and father and had a future to live. The commandant agreed to the exchange. Kolbe was starved to death, although he was given a mercy injection after three weeks.

 

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”  Elie Wiesel

Life Became Him

Quietly he ventured an offer to
the commandant lusting for reprisal,
one young father not ready for some version of heaven,
and persuaded, the commandant exchanges the two,
the priest is starved in the doorway of eternity.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

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