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A Specter Speaks To War

Blog Posted:6/25/2012 9:12:00 AM
   I have retired my poem, "A Specter Speaks To War" from Poetry Soup until they can change the character limitations to their posting system. It has much grieved me in the past to have split it into two postings because it totally destroys the rhythm which is essential to the poem.
   However, I do know there were several members who had chosen it as one of their favorites, so for them I will display the poem here, as it was meant to be read. I wrote the poem in 1980 while in my second year of Jr. college. The poem is a repeating Shakespearean sonnet form containing six sonnetts with a quatrain at the end. The poem was originally written as a mini play containing dialect in the form of debate and contained eight sonnets, this is the shorter version.
   I will leave this poem here for the time being.

    A Specter Speaks To War

Smoke rising from the ground
Obscures the pools of blood,
Where soldiers uttering sounds
Lie dying in the mud.
Horses neighing, running scared
In horror find no end,
Of battleground that's shared
The crimson life of men.
A bugle lies still tightly clenched
In fingers cold as night,
Plays no melody to those entrenched
Of retreat, or for respite.
   For, no living remain to claim in combat law
   A victory lost in death, it was an even draw.

A specter slowly forming new
In horror looks around through eyes
Obscured of light, now palest blue
Emits a mournful cry, "Oh why?"
Just then, with laughter heard afar
Dressed in mail of shining armor,
Come to claim his spoils, stood War
In all his might and glamor!
"Surely thou jest?" War asked
"To question such a thing,
For its from your very own task
That I came here this evening!"
   "From hate and fear you have campaigned
   And now you dare to stand and complain?"

"'T was you and they who disagreed
Finding no peaceful way,
Did bring your grievances to me
To finalize this day!"
"But not like this!" the specter pleads
"To utter shame and cost?
We came to you for victory
Not death and total loss!"
"You've fooled us to believe this day
That your quick intervention,
Would be the most successful way
Of our enemies prevention!"
   "You Scoundrel!" the specter shouts in rage
   "You should be locked up in a cage!"

"You back both sides and then
Not caring for either side,
You hide conveniently within
Till battle sounds subside!"
"You're a terrible thing once done
A death robe once you're shod,
You must surely fear someone
Perhaps you fear some god?"
Then spoke War abruptly, "Nay!"
"I fear not the deities,
For even they disagree and say
'Let War settle our proprieties!"
   The specter in retort then sneers
   "Surely something gives you cause to fear!"

"Some force of nature or of man
Some force that when unleashed,
Doth undermine your smug stance
You must certainly fear peace!"
War then shouts, "I fear her?"
"She who flees before my wake?
Why, she's just a cuddled kitten's purr
A thing that men when cuddled make!"
Then in silent pause the ghost
Began to laugh with glee,
Which silenced War his host
A most worthy sight to see!
   The specter replied, "You'll never stop, and in so doing
   When all is lost you'll be your own damn ruin!"

The specter vanished with a scream
Awakening me from my sleep,
Relieved to realize 't was just a dream
I sighed, trying not to weep.
Then, looking at the foot of my bed
I froze from lack of breath,
To see that self same ghost no less
Returned once more from death!
With a gasp my heart stopped
Then he, while hovering overhead,
Pointed to where my head was propped
At the head of my trembling bed!
   Then grabbing my foot with icy cold caress
   Hissed this warning..."BEWARE, BEWARE,"
   "THE FOOL! ... But more his foolishness!"
   And then he vanished in thin air!!

                                               Timothy I. Brumley

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Date: 6/26/2012 9:27:00 AM
It would have been sad to have missed this Tim. It has the touch ofa master poet and the story is a riveting piece on eerie spectre of combat. At last you have it all together and I agree, to have put it in two parts would have ruined it. I will copy and paste so I have a permanent copy if that's ok with you. Thanks for telling me, it was wonderful to read.
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Date: 6/25/2012 11:36:00 AM
Just love the ending quatrain. Truly a wonderfully written poem. And I agree that splitting it would ruin the rythm.
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Date: 6/25/2012 11:23:00 AM
Timothy, this is a classical masterpiece...I will cut and paste it an save it in my own personal file...The story is full of energy and suspense. Truly this form is one of the most difficult forms of poetry. When I eventyally write one, I will let u see it. Appreciate the heads up on this news..Is this one published any where?...Surprised if it's not! :0 gwenodlen
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