In recent weeks I seem to have encountered both in my writing group and in the local library, as well as on-line postings in various social networking sites, many verses and comments about war. Unsurprising, you may say, with the commemoration this year of the outbreak of the Great War (what was great about it?). We all turn our attention to the War Poets, and I can recall my daughters studying these as part of their school curriculum not that many years ago. Despite the graphic descriptions of heroism and horror in the verses, the poems inevitably arise from a national perspective. But war, wherever and whenever in history, is misery.
The dictionary definition is: Old English werre, from an Anglo-Norman French variant of Old French guerre, from a Germanic base shared by worse. And what could be worse than war?
The crass infidelities of conflict bear no guilt.
They say they do it for the people,
each nation steeped in its own
insidious identity crisis,
bearing shame as a badge of dishonour.
Do they not see
a flag is merely a coloured cloth,
designed by committee or despots?
It signals a breed apart,
divides to conquer
and is perniciously pinned
onto the blood wet shores of our warring world.