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Poetry Pleases: At Night

Caroline Glen's poem is a powerful and moving protest at the folly and futility of wars,

See more poems by Caroline, and numerous other writers, on her Web site: http://www.kookamongasquare.com/carolineglen/

At night the TV screens the newly dead;
the united young, destroyed on foreign soil:
One photo follows the next. We read the names
and speechless sit and watch with usual dread.

Some serious in their uniforms, others smile.
What were their thoughts before the camera’s click?
With faith did they ask their dreams to wait?
Or were they very afraid that they might die?

We wonder when these photographs will end;
and bodies darkly zipped in plastic bags.
No war no more we say but know more deaths
will scar beloved ones’ hearts that cannot mend.

We think of families struggling with the law,
with beliefs that good will overcome all wrongs,
with bedrooms emptied of their warriors’ clothes,
their words and footsteps hushed for ever more.

Their caskets in the ground, the final track,
the headstones tell the sacrifice they made.
The elements and dust can’t comfort them.
Heads bowed in prayer can never bring them back.

And never hear the surge of wind through trees,
the sound of birds, the sight of native flowers,
the heavens and companionship of friends.
Another war has taken all of these.

We hope one day the screen will cease to show
the moving photos of the beautiful young
who tried their best to do what they were asked,
denied their measure of time to love and grow.

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