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Lewis & Quark


Against War: A Poem

     Perhaps a member of your family is a veteran. Perhaps someone you know from the social circles you frequent fought in one of your country's wars. For me to pick up my pen against war would appear to be a denial of their sacrifice and bravery. Let me be clear--I respect every drop of blood shed and sacrifice made by all the soldiers of all the times. Many were ignorant of the purpose of the war they were fighting in, or conscientious objectors to the battles they fought. A rare few have fought for noble ends and did so honorably. Even those who fought for evil and knew it are deserving of pity. 
     But whatever category a soldier fits into, they laid down much and endured horrible suffering. Imagine being forced to kill your family. If all men are our neighbors, that is the experience of every man put down into service. Knowing you have killed someone is truly horrible. So when I preach against war, I do not demean that. I hope to convince you to spare those men manifold pain and trauma. I can envision a war-free world. Not necessarily one at peace, but a world where we--we humans, we all of us--aimed at each others' faces and pulled the trigger no more. And like so many who come before me, I sing songs of my ideals. Let it move and breathe and please you--understand. 

A young man stares up at the ruddy sky
The sunset bleeds orange in his vision
Words of a kind teacher return muddled
“Only lost causes are worth dying for.”
What did this youth fight for, even to death?
Years ago there was something to hope in
He did not fight for “belief” that sad day
He fought to exist, not for an essence
And for what cause did death come to him swift?
A glimpse of hope, some light inside darkness
But only the black blood of Homer came
That minstrel was his companion in life
Had Achilles and Hector known this pain?
What could legends truly tell him of this?
Beauty was present, not reality
Words rang in his head— “noble and valiant”
His last breath was no concession to death
“No one chooses values to their last breath.”
Silence from then on.

     I am no person to say that I have experienced these horrors firsthand. But I believe those who have. I believe it is hard. I believe it is degrading. I believe that even when it is necessary, it is a misery and agony. Because we pray, pray for unity. For peace. For people who speak in words and not weapons. We may never bring an end to violence, or an end to violent people. But we can try. That is never to be let go.
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