A phantom horse came galloping
beneath a silver moon
across a field of recent war
where corpses’ bones lay strewn.
With thunder in his hoof beats,
again and then again,
he raced along a river which,
like blood, ran through that plain.
Though frightful he appeared to be
on land that reeked demise,
a sole intent gleamed strongly
in his sad and ghostly eyes.
Then finally, as dawn began
to paint the broad stretch red,
the unrelenting stallion stopped
and seemed to bow his head.
He briefly knelt, then stood upright
and bore away, with speed,
the spirit of the knight for whom
he’d been a trusty steed!
For the Not Just Any Old Quatrain Poetry Contest
of Kelly Deschler
I may not believe in war
Yet I still believe in you
I am one of the many
You are one of the few
You are standing in harms way
While we're safe in our bed
We're amongst the living
While you're faced with the dead
Horrors I imagine
For you are oh so real
You choose to face the darkness
In your hands you hold cold steel
Yes you fight for freedom
A bastion for what is right
Your greatest weapon your heart
With it you hold back the night
Your life is truly precious
I am sad that you are there
I ask for God's protection
Rest in blankets of our prayer
For Mystic Rose's write to our Heros contest.
His daddy is fighting in Iraq.
His mommy is fighting tears.
His brother is fighting death.
He is fighting his desolation and fears.
Friends are but a dream
and companions are an illusion.
School is a concentration camp,
but he stands, though alone, in the midst of confusion.
His training school is loneliness.
His milestones are fears, thrust in lies.
His only weapon is faith
and his bullets are soft "hallelujah" cries.
Strength left his fragile body
and he lost the fight in life so coy,
yet on his knees he conquered agony
and I call him the little soldier boy.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s grimy fingerprints on current history
are for him nothing to gloat about—au contraire I say emphatically:
His actions bespeak one who’s not an architect for peace—not at all,
rather a quite deceitful dictator and a harbinger of a Second Cold War.
King Vlad’s old Soviet-style actions are clear for all who care to see,
and make no mistake about it—he’s without remorse and a soul to boot.
The real picture he portrays in world politics is of a “Master of Malarkey,”
and an “International Bamboozler Supreme,” with not one iota of conscience.
King Vlad has risked a Second Cold War with his violation of international
law concerning the blatant, illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
With his brand of new style Soviet adventurism on the march, the Old
Soviet Bear has been resurrected anew—and it’s hot on the prowl again!
King Vlad’s new found spirit of nationalism for Russia is not at all progressive
as evidenced by his ongoing war on certain ethnic minorities—Jews, Tartars,
Armenians, Gypsies—to include anyone who chooses to resist and protest
against his dark new age fanaticism rebranded anew in the twenty-first century.
King Vlad’s lineage to and proclivity for the old Soviet Union and its dubious
cast of some past gangster luminaries: Lenin, Stalin, Beria, Molotov, Brezhnev
and Andropov—to name a few, is quite telling since it gives us a deeper view
of the real nature of his psyche and the tragedy he brings now to the world stage.
And lest we forget—the ghosts and innocent souls of the murdered passengers from
flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine cry out, as do their families, for justice against this
vile international thuggery and hooliganism perpetrated by King Vlad in support
of certain proxy groups that do his evil biddings soaked in lies, treachery, and deceit.
King Vlad takes distinct pleasure in fulfilling the fanciful role today of the old Soviet
Bolshoi Nachalnik (Big Boss), whose historical antecedents from former Soviet Big
Bosses of past fame, does not augur well for the future of democracy in New Russia,
and certainly does not mesh with the precepts of good governance and human rights.
King Vlad’s treachery and deception are open for all to see, if they choose to do so,
and as he executes his plan of disrupting the balance of the current century world
order, we all should be forewarned of the clouds of tyranny and aggression that
could be unleashed at his behest on the European continent and the world today.
King Vlad, despite all of the polite remonstrations and economic sanctions imposed
by Western leaders and diplomats, understands really only one word rendered so
demonstratively in the German language: die Macht (or Power), which lurks ever so
behind his public mask as part of his psychological makeup as a former KGB officer.
King Vlad’s actions and deeds reflect his real virtues of lying, denying, accusing,
rejecting, criticizing—all poison arrows in his quiver as a master of prevarication.
His real mask is that of a monster who had the very best Soviet teachers and now
wishes to tilt the axis of his New Russia on a collision course with the Free World.
And so Generalissimo Stalin . . . how do you like your nasty little boy now???
Gary Bateman, Copyright © All Rights Reserved (November 30, 2014)
So thick with rain,the rancid air
into the jungle pours.
Young soldiers with their feet on fire
keep on despite the sores.
This war is one that no one wants
and no one understands.
Young men and women give their lives
in these far Asian lands.
Back home these kids are shown disdain;
they're spit upon and worse.
When they come home from Viet Nam
in airports they are cursed.
A blight upon our history
was this long standing war.
But we should show the vets respect
for suffering they bore.
written by Deb Wilson
January 12th, 2013
for contest "Historical Modified Quatrain"
A boy lines up plastic soldiers
In straight rows across his floor.
He knocks them down with callow ease
In a naive game of war.
Far across the deepest ocean,
In between rich, well-known places,
Little boys become those soldiers -
Grow hard lines upon their faces.
Guns weigh down their frail frames,
As they march in groups like drones;
Passing by jumbles of bodies -
Messy piles of flesh and bones.
One cries softly in the corner,
Another cannot bear the sound.
He takes the blunt side of his gun
And beats the other to the ground.
In the streets they pass right over
Mothers murdered, sisters raped,
Countless men whose limbs are broken,
But whose empty eyes still gape.
Narrow roads become red rivers,
Neighbourhoods go up in flames,
Backyards turn into cold graveyards -
Still they play this twisted game.
Far across the deepest ocean,
In the richest, well-known places,
Boys line up their plastic soldiers
With blind smiles upon their faces.
The Texans weren't supposed to be
Holding the old mission.
Sam Houston sent Jim Bowie there.
Said he had a vision.
Bowie wanted to save the fort.
So did Colonel Travis.
They say when Santa Anna came
Carnage there was massive.
Two hundred men would die that day.
One was Davey Crockett.
He couldn't save the Alamo.
Too few men to stop it.
Santa Anna won the battle,
Taking back the city.
He killed each and every soldier.
Showing them no pity.
Santa Anna was defeated
Outside San Jacento.
The Texans bore the battle cry,
Bore after bore fell silent eventually
Abhor I do feel through my eyes
Gore and sore now abundantly plenty
Tore through clouds, wondrous skies
Despair in abundance appears all around
Where in the world has all our love gone
Stare into our abyss, and see it abound
There is no tomorrow, there is no dawn
Come by the Sword, Die by the Sword
They stood in ranks a thousand long
High upon the hill
The Roman legion, fierce and strong
With sword and lance and bill
The Briton hoards below them stare
With wild fanatic eyes
They jeer the foe and beg them dare
With anger and despise
Come and fight you cowardly foe
Come and meet your fate
We’ll cut you down, row by row
Send you to heavens gate
With scoff and scorn the Romans yawn
What empty threats you speak
We’ll rip you limb from limb this morn
You’re scrawny, thin and weak
Down below, laughter roars
Your bellies, we will slice
We’ll lay you dead, in your scores
Come prove your men not mice
We will arrive and make you pay
For indolence and taunt
You will eat every word you say
When they come back to haunt
It’s easy up on high to gloat
But everybody knows
It’s our intent to cut each throat
And leave you for the crows
But when we make our move towards
There’ll be no shy nor rests
We’ll plunge our sharp and bloody swords
Deep in those ragbag chests
Think of your girlfriends, mothers, wives
For them there’ll be no gains
Will be, as we, cut short their lives
When we spill out your brains
For one last time you’ll see the sky
Cause you’re not leaving whole
When heathen head is raised up high
On legion victory pole
Gasp deep upon your final breath
Invader of our land
Your destiny this day is death
By rude and brutish hand
With sword and lance and bill
All break into their stride
With voices booming still
Blood fills the wide divide
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March forward to today
Though forces re-arranged
And ask them in what way
Anything has changed
Sore to the bone
Running on a drop of energy
Just gotta push through
I'll rest eventually
My shoulder has gone numb
But my body feels her weight
As if she's gotten heavy
Since her unconscious state
If I could, I'd stop right now
But who knows how safe it is here
And if I could even start again
I may fall asleep I fear
Soon my body will give up
But I'll make it as far as I can
And hopefully haven isn't too far
And I can put her in helping hands
Walking all day and night
It's hard not to think on past
And any thought I come up with
Has me struggling to hold sobs back
I've kept my ears open
Trying to focus on only sounds
But all I keep on hearing
Is my shoes crunch on foreign grounds
Bang. I hear it softly.
So far but still so near.
Bang. Another gunshot sounds
And I've collapsed in fear.
I close my eyes but another goes off
This time in a memory
And now I'm filled with rage
At how repulsive humans can be
My thoughts turn to my baby
Slipping off of my shoulder
I set her down and examine her
Bloodstained gown and skin colder
My worst nightmare but it can't be true
I listen in for her sweet breath
No. No No. No No. No No.
What's this silence? This isn't death.
This time I don't close my eyes
I see a sight that makes me sob
Memory of the last I saw my wife
And now my baby's with her mom.
Each one of us left covered in crimson
By a monster, a gunshot, a blow
Their death is the death of me.
This is as far as I can go.
Inspired by Morris Gleitzman's novel "Once," a historical fiction about a boy in Poland
during the Holocaust.
We gave Johnny a gun and a uniform
Trained him to kill, in a regiment conform
Sent him deep into Vietnam jungles warm
With little regard to how we did him harm
So certain we knew what we joined to fight for
We were shipped off to fight an unwinnable war
A war of "containment," unlike those before
Mothers screamed, fathers wept, siblings ached to the core
By parachute dropped to a ghastly death scene
Johnny ached for the life left behind, so serene
His family, fiance did not know what war means
Especially the haunting of lost children's screams
Those of us who survived thought we'd just done our jobs
We returned and were shamed by violent gobs
Of silver-spoon white kids in hate-spewing mobs
Spat-on and welcomed as baby-killer slobs
No heroes welcome would await these young men
No ticker-tape parades were staged for them
Just jeers from crowds, uncaring government
Greeted the lonely Vietnam Veteran
Too classy and noble to demand our fair share
We lay in that shabby old hospital there
In a closet-sized room with no visitors' chair
Understaffed, underfunded, with short-handed care
The "benefits" they found would astound all now
And it leaves one to wonder how our hallowed ground
Would be filled with unnamed graves of men once proud
Before the rows of white crosses we should bow
Our Wailing-Wall stands now in Washington, D.C.
So shiny but black, a telling-tale of the fee
We have paid for our nation, our land of the free
Will you come pay respects? Will you not at last see?
Some veterans still suffer disgraceful neglect
So please explain who more deserves our respect
Let us pause with angelic choirs and genuflect
To show gratitude as on this Wall we reflect
Friends, Dane Ann is among those who served in the army during the Vietnam war and is
now recovering from long-overdue hip surgery performed at an old VA hospital in
Gainesville, Florida. Thank you for your prayers on her behalf. Many thanks
to Tim Ryerson, another Vietnam veteran, for joining me in this write.
I am never jealous, but theirs an evil in my eye
Step forward and cross me, and soon you'll wonder why
No matter where you are, it doesn't matter where you hide
For I'm the clever one, who'll find you and watch you slide
There are some things that you will never own, nor I, so read my words
For if I have to find a reason, my actions are seldom heard
These actions I speak about, are the watching of your life fade
And the squealing through your last breath, your body in dying cascade
I am never jealous, but theirs an evil in my eye
Step forward and dare to cross me, and soon you'll wonder why
The world is small enough, it takes nothing for me to try
I can only ever promise, take what is never yours, and you will rightly die
I would like to start a world war
And enter it with blindness
Attacking every country
Fully armed with kindness
I'd fly over the no fly zones
From ten thousand feet above
I would drop my greatest weapon
And splatter them with love
Medals would be given for caring
There would be a hatred ban
And heroes would be judged
On what they did for their fellow man
The war would rage on land
In the air and on the sea
And the war would never end
Until every man was free.
I see before me a world filled with despair.
Yet people turn their backs and refuse to care.
I know there are many things that truly aren’t fair.
You just can’t give up and choose to live nowhere.
People take their fingers and point to blame,
While other feel sorrow that fills them with shame.
Why can’t we understand we are all not the same?
Instead there is conflict as we call each other names.
Why can’t we understand and all just get along?
War drums are beating that same old sad song.
Tears start to fall for all those who are gone,
We seem to survive but just for how long?
We have to learn to put our differences aside.
When all is gone it won’t matter which side.
We all need to learn that this life is a gift.
To reach out our hands and help to uplift.
The alternative is that we all shall die.
I think this enough reason to learn to try.
Though we won’t always see eye to eye,
When it all gone who will be here to ask why?
I see before me a way to make amends
To reach out a hand rather than to defend.
Peace should be something we all can afford.
We shouldn’t have to live and die by the sword.
With armor pierced, I’m battle scarred
For enemies swords had struck their mark
Though weary, I, I raised my sword
To continue fighting in the dark
The battle started hours before
Fighting strong, with me, heroic men
Yet, common men with noble hearts
For mother land, they now defend
No formal training, nor fighting skills
But, armed with will and make shift swords
These men of honor fought for right
For losing homes, they can’t afford
I, their leader, their chosen one
Selected for strength and outward pride
Am honored to fight aside these men
Else, not fighting at all, I shall have died
Our homes and family are what we are
The marks of us men are lineage and land
We go into battle, each as a boy
To come from the battle, each as a man
Within my breast I carry ancient death;
Its face is pale and white as marbled clay.
Consumed with guilt, I struggle for each breath
Still sour with napalm death of yesterday.
The fractured colors formed behind my lids
Are monumental rainbows round a pit
Where hues of crimson-reds crisscross the grids
Profuse in bloody lines and squares to fit.
Profanely perfect patterned memories
Of riddled bodies huddled on the ground,
Where bloated skin slips off fatalities
As ragged maggots slither-squirm around.
The jungle flora breathes forth mystic sighs
As soldiers wander through symbology.
They see suspended phantoms' floating eyes;
A catapult to horrid memory.
No temple of communion colonnades!
No transubstantiation in the heat!
No priestly servants hidden in the glades!
No promises of paradise wrapped neat!
This summer morn the birds sing out with magic
Their mystic echo fills my heart with love.
Whilst far away those shells so loud and tragic
They shower down their murder from above.
The trees they dance in splendour all around me
As the morning sun it fills my heart with joy
And everything just feels so free and easy
Whilst mankind has the mind to life destroy.
It’s hard to understand the minds of Humans
They cannot rid themselves of fear and hate.
They cannot see the light, their eyes are blinded
Can they not see the Karma they create??
The lazy river sparkles in the Sunlight
It conquers all yet stays in serene bliss
Whilst man he has to kill, why can’t he see it?
The truth of all this foolishness of his.
Awaken man, awaken from your sleeping
Just take a look and see what you’ve become
Your madness it be sunken right into you
It seems to me your heart be really numb.
That homeless guy out on the corner,
Carrying a sign that says he’s hungry;
Maybe he’s just a drunk or a ‘stoner’,
But he might be that one-out-of-three.
That one-out-of-three is a veteran,
Who in uniform served his country.
There’s a good chance he has an addiction,
Or is still suffering from PTSD.
One out of three of those ones-out-of-three
Fought in one of America’s wars.
Did he scream on a beach in Normandy,
Or did he at Inchon go ashore.
Did he hunt Charlie in a rice paddy?
Was he in the Balkans, or lost in the sand?
One out of three of those ones-out-of-three,
Were the heroes who once took a stand.
If you can spare a few dollars, then feed them.
If not, at least hear what they say.
Their country may no longer need them,
But they don’t deserve to be thrown away.
They might not have all bled in battle,
But each one came home a casualty.
With your help, they may someday be able
To leave the ranks of the one-out-of-three.
Two shadows on the wall
The slightest hint of swaying
If I knew any better
My sanity's decaying
The pendulum moves silently
And casts a double shade
If my thoughts weren't haunted
It would be a sight of grace
Though instead it reminds me
Of my consuming dread
That perhaps he won't return
Perhaps my love is dead
I met a veteran from World War II
who, eighty-three, reached out to shake my hand;
at Normandy, who'd seen his brethren killed,
now walks the streets of Berlin, Maryland.
He models life, simple yet abundant,
by stocking up a van with meat and cheese
and, seeking out the tired, poor, and hungry,
and greeting them with a "thank you", and "please".
He mentioned D-Day once, as I recall -
said he couldn't number those he had slain,
yet, the other soldiers jumping with him
all dead the moment they leapt from the plane.
To think, this man, who held the mortal coil
of all the nations longing to be free,
who vowed to suffer death, should it have him,
would stoop to honor men, the likes of me.
I asked myself "do I take for granted
my freedom, bled and died for, in this land",
the day a veteran from World War II,
at eighty-three, reached out to shake my hand.
As willows weep along the walls
And fall mums start to bloom
The wind still echoes hallowed
From Nanking's souls of doom
With little food and daily raids
There was no safety zone
From genocide of men and
For none were left alone
Their butchered bodies
Lay piled in ponds and roads
In bloody streets a river there
Flowed heavy 'neath the loads
This holocaust was filmed that
Priest John Magee did plod
Now as his son he too could say
He "touched the face of God".
Corridors, power, call it what you like
When shadows fall, on this hot June night
These walls, this place, I'm absorbed I wonder why
They, the inflicted, their embers, we now throw them to the sky
Sleeping giants of Auschwitz, in mass production die
Good boy psycho killers, into their new world they tread
To look for new horizons and leave behind their dread
Behind half moon meadow, now decaying in ancestral creep
Amidst discarded gates and ditches, this, the city sleeps
Their corridors of Epiphany, whilst Christianity weeps
<> Written using the track titles to the Touchstones album <>
The City Sleeps
In Asgard, kingdom of the mighty God Odin
a place awaits all battle fallen warrior heroes
It's in Valhalla where there is endless feasting
and an ending of all griefs and sorrows
The Valkyries, Odin's warrior daughters
carry the fallen heroes from the battlefield
to Valhalla to join other fallen warriors
where they are restored to life fully healed
Each day the warriors fight on Asgard's plain
Their battle skills to sharpen and maintain
Every evening wounds and injuries they sustain
are healed and each warrior made whole again
They dine on liquor and fresh cooked meat
that is always in great abundance for all
providing a delicious gourmet treat
at Odin's banquet in Valhalla's dining hall
July 18, 2014
Here is the poem which aroused my childhood interest in the Vikings, and to
which I referred in my reply to Shadow. I would like to share it with others.
It is "The Sea King's Burial" by Charles Mackay. It recalls the days when a
Viking chief died and his body was placed in a boat. The vessel with full sail
set and a fire lighted, was then sent drifting out to sea. It is a long poem so I
am only quoting the first and last verses:
My strength is failing fast
(Said the sea-king to his men).
I shall never sail the seas
Like a conqueror again,
But while yet a drop remains
Of the life-blood in my veins
Raise, oh, raise me from my bed,
Put the crown upon my head,
Put my good sword in my hand,
And so lead me to the strand,
Where my ship at anchor rides
If I cannot end my life
In the crimsoned battle-strife
Let me die as I have lived,
On the sea.
Once alone a cry arose,
Half of anguish, half of pride,
As he sprang upon his feet,
With the flames on every side.
"I am coming! " said the king,
Where the swords and bucklers ring,
Where the warrior lives again,
Where the souls of mighty men
And the weary find repose,
And the red wine ever flows,
I am coming, great -All-Father,
Unto Odin, unto Thor,
And the strong, true hearts of yore:
I am coming to Valhalla
O'er the sea."
Please, sir, some meat and bread
I've not had a morsel for a week
It would stop this terrible hunger
My prospects now are terribly bleak
It's said the Earl is tender hearted
And oh so bloody awful rich
If I could have a taste of his
I'd call the thing a Sandwich
I hate to just come a beggin'
But I'm so hungry I am seeing red
Won't you ask the Earl again
Please, sir, some meat and bread.......
For Joe's Sandwich contest...lol
I went to war in Vietnam which wasn't my idea
the army never asked for my advice
I slogged on through the jungles there and watched some soldiers die
out country where the farmers grow their rice
The months went by like in a horrid dream of blood and death
and nothing I could say made any change
one mission here. one mission there just made no sense to me
but there was no way it would rearrange
We came to do our duty and to save South Vietnam
from communist incursions from the north
The tunnel rats went into where no one should ever go
And daily, squads were sweeping back and forth
The enemy was everywhere so telling friend from foe
was just about the hardest thing to do
then just about the time you may have thought you had it pegged
some little "friend" would make a fool of you
I finally got home last month, free from an ugly war
but landing at the airport gave me pause
a woman with a little kid called me a nasty name
and spit at me without a hint of cause
This war I did not advocate and never wished to go
I never had a choice in going there
I only wish the people at my home would understand
and put the blame on those who sent us there
I simply cannot understand the hatred aimed at me
for doing what I really thought was right
it seems that people aught to see the reasons why we go
and know that it's our duty makes us fight
As I plod along the boggy fields
Master on my back
The heavy armour on my chest
The mud upon my flanks
The smell of blood in the smokey air
Of man and beast entwined
The thrust of decay beneath my hooves
Tension in the skies
As cold April winds
Lash into my eyes
I keep myself in check
To heed the masters voice to me
And his command upon my neck
His spurs, they push into my flanks
As the enemy approaches
I twist and turn, rise and fall
As metal upon metal clashes
Fast I must hold, stumble not
As the master fights the battle
Heart beating hard, mouth dry as earth
Blood coursing down my chattles
Treading hard upon the ground
Regardless of the dead
Then the day is won,the bugle sounds
"Homeward men its over"
Wearily I trot beneath the sun
To green fields of grass and clover.
War, I Never Thought It Would Be Like This !!!
I never thought to see man’s bones glistening white.
Nor see disembodied limbs flying left and right.
I never thought to see mud the colour of red
Nor see young men blown to bits or lain dead.
The rain isn't water it's blood mixed with tears
Trenches full of bloated corpses, lice, fleas and fears
No time to bury all, but those that receive an earth overcoat
Are disturbed, exhumed by bombs, blown in stagnant trenches to float.
Blasted from their resting places, scattered far and wide
Dodging not only bombs and shells, but limbs landing by our sides.
Men caught and ripped to shreds with razor wire and tracer shells.
Left to die hanging there, moaning, screaming, no funerals no church bells.
I never thought to see these things, just victory, honour and glory
Not see death destruction waste and sites disgusting and gory.
I only wanted to fight for my King, family and country
I never thought it would be a massacre that mortal eyes should not see.
© 27/07/2012 Lids aka ~GG~
They signed up so young and full of their patriotic duty, yet this is how is ended for most of them.
Battling the page,
Writers block at the brink.
Hemorrhage colored ink.
Rivers of ink flow,
From a massacre of words.
Stanzas of pain, grace the page,
Like of flock of olden birds.
Ballpoint swords strike:
In written catastrophe.
A stained battlefield resides,
With bloody poetry.
Look at the swallow
sounding the promise of rain
with silent trumpeting of flying shallow
while the bitter sunlight brings stain.
Look at the concrete forest
turning vile hearts of men to stone
with the race to no rest
while blind to wounds inflicted to the bone.
Look at the choices unjustly made
to impress by assumed wisdom
with a mask one day to fade
while wisdom stumbles over married knowledge and boredom.
Look at the mysterious skies
proclaiming what is bigger than vanity
with gentle light telling no lies
while stubborn kingdoms lose all sanity.
Look at the pondering people
among the slums of scorched life
with desire of the mercy of a crossed steeple
while receiving crucifying glances worsening their strife.
Look at how the past
stands out with a fist clenched
with iniquity passed on to children of last
while forgiveness from others by unforgetting hands is wrenched.
The Vikings were a race of men
That conquered many lands
They fought their wars with might and main
And power in their hands
They sailed the sea in dragon ships
Explored and conquered well
But now their greatness lies beneath
The rolling ocean swell