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Poetry of a Cruel and Unjust War

Poetry of a Cruel and Unjust War

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world: General Robert E. Lee, in a letter to his wife, 1864

General Robert E Lee knew how hatred and war can taint our hearts but think of the effect an unjust and illegal war has on the psyche and soul of our young soldiers who are paying the price for Cheney & Bush's grand neocon global visions.

Adding to that, Salon.com reports that more U.S. soldiers than ever are sustaining serious brain injuries in Iraq. But a significant number of them are being misdiagnosed, forced to wait for treatment or even being called liars by the Army.

Only poetry can fully capture the feeling when the string finally breaks and the only solution is a bullet. Soldier-poet Brian Turner does just that in his recent book HERE BULLET ~ and in his recent interview on NPR radio.

Allen L Roland

Iraq Soldier Describes War in Poetry

NPR Morning Edition
January 6, 2006

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5126583

Brian Turner is a soldier-poet who served for seven years in the U.S. Army. Beginning in November 2003, he was an infantry team leader in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

His book, *Here, Bullet*, reflects his war-time experiences in graceful and unflinching poetry. Turner tells Steve Inskeep about the military tradition in his family and why he joined the Army when he was almost 30. He reads selected poems from his collection and reflects on what inspired them. One poem, "Eulogy," was written to memorialize a soldier in his platoon who took his own life.

EULOGY

It happens on a Monday, at 11:20 A.M.,
as tower guards eat sandwiches
and seagulls drift by on the Tigris River.
Prisoners tilt their heads to the west
though burlap sacks and duct tape blind them.
The sound reverberates down concertina coils
the way piano wire thrums when given slack.
And it happens like this, on a blue day of sun,
when Private Miller pulls the trigger
to take brass and fire into his mouth:
the sound lifts the birds up off the water,
a mongoose pauses under the orange trees,
and nothing can stop it now, no matter what
blur of motion surrounds him, no matter what voices
crackle over the radio in static confusion,
because if only for this moment the earth is stilled,
and Private Miller has found what low hush there is
down in the eucalyptus shade, there by the river.

PFC B. Miller
(1980-March 22, 2004)

Allen Roland’s weblog: http://blogs.salon.com/0002255/
Website: http://www.allenroland.com

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