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The Silence of War

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The Silence of War

The Silence of War

Behind the Curtains of a church window
Men in Prayer, orchestrated by sweat and Lice
Find relief from snipers gaze

Beside the cross sits the last candle
Flickering precariously, searching for sanctuary from the wind
But the wick is near the end
And so are these men
The Harvest of War is almost in
For this is November 1918.

The German guns call like the song of the Siren
Irresistible, for only the dead will hear
New orders to cross the Sambre-Oise Canal 
Another postcard for Historians to write.

Machine gunners scythe the ranks
Gone the Irish regiment, clover for the beast
I take shelter behind a splintered Oak Tree
Once magnificent, A survivor of Natures glory
Now a hideous spectre to man’s intervention.
I wait here with Wilf my captain
Waiting for death to find me
The mud beckoning for blood,
The Canal red like the River Sticks
A feed for tomorrows Newspaper.

A groan from wilf, his eyes start to dim
Fear brings the Lord’s Prayer to my lips
 A last haven for my soul to cling 
 I watch his spirit fly away,
 As the words fade from my voice
Like so many others on this day of carnage
 Wilf, my friend, died November 4th 1918

Yet another contribution to this dark harvest,
Another soul for god to tender.
A statistic, a casualty of war, 
To be remembered generically
A wreath to share with a multitude of lost darlings,
 Another photograph to fade on the mantel piece 
A piece of History for a grieving widow to dust

In the ranks of the dead
Angels count our losses
 What dreams did we lose?
 What voices were made silent?
 What books were never written? 
And how many tomorrows gone,
Lost in the darkness of death?
Under this oak tree, fading from memory
A soldier Wilfred Owen was taken too

Unspoken truth in unspoken poems
 Silent to mortal’s ear
Another casualty of war
A feast of wisdom for angels to keep?
For His words were far too much,
for the hogs of war to stomach.
His poetry made silent by country’s shame,
Unpatriotic, not cricket old bean said the generals 
Only now, through peace can we learn 
The voice of one soldier,

How I pity humanity 
For silence is a killer
Democracy, and justice its victim, 
And the inevitable Silence of war will kill us all.

On this day November 4th 1918, Wilfred Owen killed in action, Sambre-Oise Canal, 7 days from Sanity
One of England’s Finest War Poets.  

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  1. Date: 10/13/2011 12:27:00 PM
    I just had to come back to this one and read it one more time. Frankly speaking, "It's a killer." (Pun intended) Poetry like this is why I hang out here and am over-awed at REAL poets like you, Steven. I also wanted to say thanks again for commenting on "The Runner." You were the first and that means you're kind of a good luck charm. Wish I could write like this though. "You da man" so keep it coming. Peace...(The world needs more of it don't you agree)?

  1. Date: 9/24/2011 4:52:00 PM
    This is more than just a wonderful tribute to our men who died at war. It's so much more. Well done author Steven Cooke . Soupmail

  1. Date: 9/23/2011 8:19:00 PM
    When I find excellence, I can't read it too many times. Just needed to absorb the impact and strength of this wonderful verse. How's my friend in England anyway?

  1. Date: 9/23/2011 3:41:00 PM
    A deeply moving and sombre piece of poetry captuirng the insanity of war. As a footnote to your footnote I was just this evening reading an essay asking the question "Is War Inevitable?" No easy answers but this subject is unquestionably one of man's greatest dilemmas. Thanks for making some of us think.

  1. Date: 9/20/2011 3:27:00 PM
    an enormous trip through a living, breathing nightmare, steven... stirring write that assaults the senses; amazing.... and no to war! :) huggs, nette

  1. Date: 9/20/2011 10:26:00 AM
    dramatically intense synopsis steven of the cold facts of war.. amazing lines of power and profoundness .. excellent footnote..thankxx luv..

  1. Date: 9/19/2011 9:37:00 AM
    This gave me shivers with the stark reality of every war ever fought. Your descriptions bring to life the atrocities committed and the sadness of loss. Can't tell you how touched I am by this Steven.

  1. Date: 9/18/2011 10:12:00 PM
    great poetic piece Steven... really wonderful....smiles...chiquita

  1. Date: 9/18/2011 7:21:00 PM
    Interesting war story written in poetic form..Sara

    Kendrick Avatar Sara Kendrick
    Date: 9/18/2011 7:21:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Thanks for stopping by, reading, and commenting on my work..Sara