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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Counting of Casualties

To-day we have counting of casualties. Yesterday,
We had a purpose to fulfil. And to-morrow morning,
We shall try to forget it all. But to-day,
To-day we have counting of casualties. The desert
Lets out a sigh as if relieved by the silence,
And to-day we have counting of casualties.

This is Staff Sergeant Johnson. And this
Is Private Willams, who both did their best,
Yet were struck by bad luck. And this is Corporal
Who fought until he drew his last breath. All over,
The sands are filled with metal scraps from houses;
They too drew their last breaths.

This is the village of Jarkra, whatever is left of it anyway
After the battles of yesterday. And please do not ask me
If those battles were worth it. You can quite easily
Answer that yourself when you see the scene. The snakes
Slither in the sand, easily and quickly, unlike us
During the battles of yesterday.

And this you can see is consequence. The purpose of our
Actions is to change the country, as you see. We can
Force these changes through: we call this
Helping the world. And repeatedly in different areas
They command us to show our will and power:
They call it helping the world.

They call it helping the world: it is perfectly right
If you have tunnel vision, but we, the peace-bringers
The saviours, the heroes, and advocates of
Which can be hard to find at times; we gather
What remains, honouring the lost souls much more
Than our cause
For to-day, we have counting of casualties.

1 comment:

  1. This is serious, and seriously good! A very fine update of the poem, beyond mere pastiche.


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