trench warfare

pitch to an inch of panic
my boat in calm water nosing into a swell
sudden as a stranger at the door
i can’t tell to go and have to answer
with a reach for the back of the nearest chair

age bad luck stress take your pick
film of a two-inch furrow
(red-ringed for the amateur)
partial eclipse ploughed neat in my head

i shall scour this trench clean
of comparisons with other days
roll its barbed wire to a peacetime ball
flush the mustard gas rats and fungus
and over the top plant a field of fresh herbs
and from my deepest pocket take poppy seeds
to set and grow to scarlet acres

34 thoughts on “trench warfare

  1. I certainly feel the struggle here, John. But I also sense that there is no resistance…that whatever it is…is allowed to be…acknowledged…and then get on with the rest. Wishing you peace and love! ♡

  2. So honest and so encouraging. It makes me want to take my petty (by comparison) barbed wire and roll it “into a peacetime ball” too. Thank you, John.

  3. The kind of introspection that comes only from boots-on-the-ground experience. It is at once a revelation and a resignation. A closing of one door and an opening of another. A promise to live on in whatever beautiful way one can.

  4. Well, the wartime spirit is most certainly alive and fighting in your sangfroid attitude, dearest John. These deeply personal and honest lines are heart-breaking, yet give great hope. Life is one huge struggle and only the very strong survive. I have no doubt you will most definitely overcome, scattering many a fertile herb which will bloom and pay tribute to you, your unique character, humanity and humility.

  5. John my dear friend, the living and experiencing of life and its inherent challenges, physical, imagined and factual burden al of us, but some seem destined to experience the most challenging, least rewarding. This trench of a million hardships, this physical impediment to the vast scores of delights and inanely joyous events you might otherwise avail yourself sans the trench, have none the less given you insights none of us could expect to hold let alone evaluate and share with others. A magnificent human experience shared with poetic finesse to die for. Ever your friend, Jon Michael

  6. A deeply moving and powerfully straightforward piece of writing John. Life can surely hand us a lot to deal with. Sending a big hug and love to you!

  7. It is a lifetime of managing through the scars of war and remembrances, the process of healing and moving slowly forward. Realizing both the struggles and strengths of having gone to places held long in aging memory and of those with our warriors today. Fields and cities may grow with new life and sounds ~ but I wonder why humanity does not seem to learn from the lessons of battle. Forces seem bent on breaking the worlds people – physically and mentally.
    A quiet nod and tipping of my hat in thanks Uncle John, yes a profound and gratified thank you for the experiences you share here as you paint the images through your words.

  8. Brother John –

    Perfect lines to express the onslaught and pain of an incident in life either physical or mental:

    sudden as a stranger at the door
    i can’t tell to go and have to answer
    with a reach for the back of the nearest chair

    Like the way you turn the horror (using images of WWI) into something positive and beautiful:

    i shall scour this trench clean
    of comparisons with other days
    roll its barbed wire to a peacetime ball
    flush the mustard gas rats and fungus
    and over the top plant a field of fresh herbs
    and from my deepest pocket take poppy seeds
    to set and grow to scarlet acres

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s