Per Diem for August 2014: War and Peace
In 2002, Pulitzer Prize Winner Chris Hedges published War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning. He was excoriated for his callous approach to the subject. But when the dust cleared, we were left to ask ourselves if he wasn’t, in fact, right. At the same time, the bulk of humanity live the majority of their days in peace (even if the threat of war always looms). We are constantly between the pincers of these concepts, as guest editor Johnny Baranski notes:
War and Peace — Why the theme of war/peace for this month’s Per Diem poems? Because the issue is forever with us. In my brief 66 years on this planet alone a day hasn’t gone by without some kind of war or conflict going on somewhere in the world. From the Cold war of the Twentieth Century to the Asymmetrical War on Terror of the Twenty-First the same scenes of death and destruction play themselves out. Beyond the battlefield there’s playground and internet bullying, domestic violence, eco war, cyber war. And then there’s the ever-present threat of nuclear weapons. Nobody likes violence and war but it’s an addiction hard to overcome. These poets have something important to say about war and peace. We all best listen to them.
Haiku has occasionally been accused of being incapable of tackling the big issues. Here is yet more proof that belies that claim.
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even elementary school pupils
by Victor P. Gendrano
All the poems in this series are worthy of more thought and comment.
I taught children with special emotional needs, and remember working on both sides of the bullying problem – now magnified by the internet.
And I wish to thank Kath Abela Wilson and Betty Shropshire for their kind comments.
Many blessings . . .
The poet – warriors. My husband is one of these. One hundred percent disabled vet from PTSD. Speaks daily in military acronyms as if everyone knows their meaning but wooed & won me with his poetry. Fights battles in his sleep to this day. Thank you for your lovely poem, Kath…it will be treasured.
Ellen, your poem resonates a revellie of heartache.
Thank you Ellen it is special to share this kind of memory with you. To see in our fathers’ hands the flow of poetry through the war. It is beautiful you did your homework in his workshop to feel closer. My father’s handwriting was beautiful in this tiny book, and he wrote his own poetry, he was the one who was my greatest inspiration in childhood, I feel strongly his inheritor poetically, and that poetry carried him through the war is very moving, the interior of his heart and mind no matter what else was going on. He read poetry to me each night before I could even read and on into childhood. I wrote my first poem at age 5 thanks to him and never stopped. One of the poems in his journal begins “I love the poets. How comforting it is to know that they are here.”
dad’s tiny war journal
full of poems
by Kath Abela Wilson
My father was a World War II veteran. In 1978, I went to Poland with him for a month as part of a tour with UW-Milwaukee. He was a retired history teacher, and kept learning, and bearing witness. In 1983, he died of cancer, when I was 29. My professors (I was in graduate school) kindly gave me incompletes, and I spent more time with my mother. To know Dad better, I did my homework in his workshop. It was there I found his war diaries – and he had copied poems.
than the gravestones
(Time Of Singing, 2012)
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