Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Combat Manual

In which Henry Reed's 'Naming Parts' is re-animated to fit the ever-ambiguous, modern perception of warfare; in four parts.

Meet and Greet
When I was young, and not so old,
I happened upon a meeting.
There were many spectators,
watching the stage's proceedings.

And now, for you,
I will attempt to renew
that manual which was

'Today, my people,' said the wise old man,
'we have a fight that we must battle.'
He had made a list,
a quick how-to.
A simple combat manual.

The Rules are Presented
He presented three objects then,
held them high in the air.
The first, he proclaimed,
would save us from forgetful-ness.
The second, he shouted,
would remind us of events gone by
Finally- the third,
his voice now dropped to a quiet whisper...
would stop the world from turning.

I was silent for a moment,
the whole crowd was.
Then, from the back,
I heard a ruckus.

Sparring Ensues
'But sir,' a voice said, 'I thought you swore,
these devices would help us win a war?'

'Quite right, Madame,' cooed the man upon the stage.

'But sir,' said another, 'they serve the same purpose,
or so it seems, judging by your description.'

Quite right, kind fellow,' cooed the man upon the stage.

'But sir,' I could not hold my silence any longer,
'What value is there in such silliness?' I scoffed.
'It surely will not win this war.'

'Quite right, young one,' cooed the man upon the stage.
The wise old man then had only one response,
'It is true my devices are quite silly,
but it is quite pertinent to have silly weapons
when fighting a silly war.'

The Victor
With that, the wise old man left his stage.
The audience remained,
still wondering which team should play
offense or defense.


  1. It's a nice sequence, but there is no way anyone could deduct from your text back to Reed's Naming of Parts. Hence, it fails both as pastiche and as parody.

  2. Nice text. I made the exact same mistake by not taking into account the Henry Reed-poem.

    I like how the text reads like a manual. Great idea!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.