Posts Tagged With: War

Carpe Diem Haiku Distillation, John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields”

As Chevrefeuille says, the goal of this CD-Distillation is to “distil” a haiku from the long-poem in this case “In Flanders Fields”. It’s a challenge of course, but even the classical haiku-poets used parts of other poems in their haiku … so it’s a classic way of writing haiku to distil haiku from a long poem. Why don’t you join in, dear reader, if you haven’t yet!  http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.fi/

 

In Flanders Field

 by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

on the crosses sit the birds
that watch over the fallen of Flanders
from where the poppies grow

Categories: Carpe Diem Haiku | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Carpe Diem Haiku – Raven

let the ravens come
let them smile as they pick the flesh
from the battlefield

ravenwomanphotomystory

what does
the raven
whisper to you?

image courtesy of  Irina Serban 

Categories: Carpe Diem Haiku | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

FF 100 Word Stories – The Way We Were…

 

He died in Afghanistan.

I was always the wild one, but you know what they say about opposites attract. He used to read me beautiful poetry. I used to shout slogans for our cause. He bailed me out of jail. I’d told him we deserved a bailing out party.

“Your pompous patriach and his anti feminist flunky are gone for two days!” I told him.

Probably my idea to put toothpaste in the  ice cream too, and then to have the ice cream fight.”That’s the last straw!” his mother had shouted, arriving home. “The military for you, son!” said his father. Wrong war, you bastard. 

melting-wax-renee-heath femenFor FF 100W stories – run admirably by Rochelle  picture by the incomparable  Renee – extra picture of ”narrator” taken of a FEMEN  activist for women’s rights, on location, the only ‘Feminista’ group I wholeheartedly support.

Categories: Flash Fiction | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Līgo Haībun Challenge – Polkadotted Memories

 
Belinda-Broughton2

Aye well, there I was, in Nagyatad, early 1990s, trying to do something for the Bosnian refugees. Nagytad, a town in southern Hungary, bordering Croatia and near Bosnia, and where busloads of Bosnian refugees were sent. Anti-tourists, staring from bus windows, not in shock, not in boredom, not in anything actually. War survivors are just like you and me, and are not a special breed of kittens needing petting, or incapables needing shouted at to stand in line. But one of the penchants of our western world is organisation and efficiency, so they do get shouted at, and organised. But what is almost worse is the sentimentality that afflicts many. And refugees make ideal people to coo at.

In Nagyatad new arrivals were locked in a cage for a week or two. The UN supplied finances to pay doctors to check for illnesses and disease, but the greedy Hungarians pocketed the cash and put new refugees in cages to see if any disease developed. If not they were chucked into the dorms or sent to the dark corridors of the psychiatric wing, in this ex-Soviet military camp with radioactive grounds and tiled paintings of tanks firing emblazoned on walls.

I befriended a young blond woman who lived in one of the cages, a few days before I left. It was a strange friendship, her, bubbly, glad to be alive, in fetching red polkadotted dress, about to suffer her breakdown, and me, absurdly and stoically upset, knowing more details about her family in Bosnia than her.

when I think of her
I hope she is free now
in all ways

Līgo Haībun Challenge here. Drawing by belindabroughton 

Categories: Haibun | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Carpe Diem Haibun – Bjorn’s Lingering Cold

Sometimes it feels like that’s all there is left. Two old warrior’s we felt ourselves to be, at the kitchen table this morning, my painter and I. Both about the same age. In his youth he’d been a UN blue beret – attached to the UN through the Finnish army. In my youth, with my beret green, I’d been in exactly the same area, with the French military, Lebanon, Syria, Israel. We’d perhaps even been only yards apart at times.

And both of us knew that rare thing. We both knew and felt the lies so often told about the Middle East by our western governments and press, this ex-UN soldier, attached with his Finnish regiment, and I. He’d witnessed a Norwegian UN soldier, a woman, beaten up by Israelis when she had a flat tyre and was trying to flag a car down for help, though it was true she was in uniform and Israelis revile the UN – but her thumb up gesture was also a dire insult in Israel. I’d heard about it. We both saw or heard about many incidents.

We drunk our coffee, and we knew the lies.

“But still the dates grew in the trees, all year round,” he said, “and the olives too, until those crazy extremist  Jewish  settlers burnt all the olive groves.”

“That was, and still is terrible,” I said, “and never talked about.”

The cold crept in trough the open kitchen window. I shivered.

“When I was a child, all our winters were cold, full of snow,” he said, looking out the window with me, at the trees just starting to bud. “This year winter did not come properly but still the cold lingers.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Maybe that is how it is now,” he said, “never really starting, or ever finished.”

lingering cold
flowering spring won’t be today
I miss absent palm trees

 

 

 

Categories: Carpe Diem Haiku | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Friday Fictioneers: The Night Before The Morning That Will Not Be

image rochelle wisoff-fields

image rochelle wisoff-fields

In order to justify them killing you, you invent the crime. “I deserve to die,” you say to yourself. It doesn’t pay to get too religious on these occasions  —  the next thing you’ll be doing is repenting.

In our cells waiting to be shot we are a club with the same aim: to get out alive. Personally, I think of childhood. Maybe I should have played with dolls. Instead bullets will be my last medals.

If anyone finds this note; “I died a man.” That is, I fought till the end, and ran, blindfolded, hands tied behind my back, in my last faltering steps of freedom.

images

friday fictioneers 100 Word stories ¤ run so well by ms rochelle wisoff-fields

Categories: Flash Fiction | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

An Endless Migration In Us…The Fourth Qasida

Taha Muhammad Ali (1931-2011) wrote most of the poems for his first book in 1982 and 1983, when the Israel Defense Forces were invading Lebanon, leading to the massacres at Sabra and Shatila.  But it was in 1948, in Muhammad Ali’s village of Saffuriya, captured by the army of the newborn Jewish state, that the seeds of  The Fourth Qasida were probably planted.

Along with most of the village’s population, the teenage Muhammad Ali and his family fled on foot to a refugee camp in Lebanon, where his 12-year-old sister, Ghazaleh, died of meningitis. They were able to sneak back a year later and eventually even to obtain Israeli residence cards, but were never to return to their ancestral village, as Saffuriyya had been razed to the ground and turned into Tzippori, a moshav or Israeli settlement. Taha Mohammed Ali  settled in Nazareth instead, where he opened a souvenir shop for Christian tourists.

In his poem “The Fourth Qasida,” Muhammad Ali addresses Amira, the girl to whom he was betrothed in childhood, but whom he was not able to marry because she ends up on the wrong side of the Lebanese-Israeli border. Amira’s mysterious departure, never to return, can be equated to the events around Saffuriyya, but is left open for the reader’ s own interpretation at the same time.

The deeply moving poem is full of the flavour of what used to be known as ”Asia Minor’, with its references to nature and fruits, which add tragic appeal. The Fourth Qasida can thus almost be tasted, and is a poem, like many in Arabic tradition, that should be read or ”thought” aloud.

With each reading one discovers more, as always, and for me, in the latest reading, it is when a sudden ”powerful feeling” grows, that Amira might return, and then the sudden shout of ”Amira!” of the last stanza, that echoes still now. Enjoy the read. 

The Fourth Qasida

When our loved ones leave
Amira,
as you left,
an endless migration in us begins
and a certain sense takes hold in us
that all of what is finest
in and around us,
except for the sadness,
is going away—
departing, not to return.

The pomegranate trees
whose flowers you loved,
drooped and their shade withdrew,
and the path, and the china bark tree,
and the brooks—
all departed
after you left
and won’t return.

~

During the winter
strange birds seeking refuge arrive,
among them quails
and songbirds with colorful wings,
and also birds of prey,
and some that are sad and frail
and hold you spellbound in their goodness
gathering pebbles and grain,
and trembling in the tremendous cold
and out of a sense of profound strangeness—
though all of a sudden together they leave.
They come as one in winter suddenly,
as with it they suddenly flee.

~

I have, Amira, a strange and powerful feeling,
which grows still stronger in winter,
becoming increasingly forceful
and strange,
and I sense that you’ll arrive
one day with these birds,
an olive’s dove—
enchanting,
sweet-smelling,
graceful and gentle,
and restless,
alighting near
the almond tree in our garden.
A dove whose feelings of cold are fatal,
whose sense of strangeness can kill,
whose longing for the olive
grove is lethal;
a dove who smiles,
her eyes holding gardens of sadness,
while joy’s remains linger on in her coo.
The minute I see her, I’ll know her,
and recognize, too, catastrophes’ rings
hanging from her tender neck.
I’ll know her clear, springlike glance,
her dewy gaze
like the dreams of lakes.
I’ll know her shy, velvety steps,
her measured paces,
like breaths taken by seedlings of lettuce.
And I’ll know her sweet, singular, lilac voice,
which—every time I heard it—
I sensed was coming from deep within me,
a remote place within my soul,
lost and unknown—
this voice that reaches me
and which I greet
and embrace before my hearing stirs.
I will not mistake it,
for I can distinguish between
the voices of all the doves of the world
gathered together in a single garden.
And when I see her, my feet will set out
for the heart’s site within my breast.
But I will not let her see the tears
welling up in my eyes,
neither the tears of my joy for her,
nor the tears of my fear for her,
and not the tears of years of sadness,
nor my years of pain.
My blood will rush in my veins
to meet her then and welcome her.
And she will know us as well,
our sadness will lead her to us,
our anticipation will lead her to us,
the longing will lead her,
the evenings, the ardor.
The night will guide her,
and the clouds and grass
and the forest will show her the way,
the seasons and rivers
and paths—
all will guide her towards us.
And she will know us and cry
remember us and weep,
gather the greens and grain
and sob,
tremble from the force of the cold
and the depth of strangeness,
and weep,
We’ll tell her of the fields of thorn,
the colocynth fruit
and crimes of the wind,
the fangs of dispersal,
the mill of night and its cruelty,
the ardor of evening;
we’ll speak to her of defeat,
of bitterness and the loss—
and remind her of the olive buds,
as she weeps on and on.
She’ll neither find us strange nor fear us,
and she will not draw back from us,
but suddenly she’ll depart
as suddenly as she appeared,
and the winter that brought her
with it when it arrived
that morning will pass from our garden
swiftly like a train.
Waking from her slumber
in terror then, she’ll cry
and hanging from one of its coaches’ windows
she’ll weep,
withdrawing into the distance,
the tears filling her lovely eyes.

~

Amira!
When our loved ones leave us,
as you left,
an endless migration in us begins,
and a certain sense takes hold in us
that all of what is finest
in and around us,
except for the sadness,
is going away,
departing, not to return.

There Was No Farewell
We did not weep
when we were leaving—
for we had neither
time nor tears,
and there was no farewell.
We did not know
at the moment of parting
that it was a parting,
so where would our weeping
have come from?
We did not stay
awake all night
(and did not doze)
the night of our leaving.
That night we had
neither night nor light,
and no moon rose.
That night we lost our star,
our lamp misled us;
we didn’t receive our share
of sleeplessness—
so where
would wakefulness have come from?

Should you wish to ”hear” some more from Taha Mohammed Ali, please do click on this poetry reading of ”Revenge”, read by the poet in Arabic, then by Peter Cole in English (just before the 4th minute), a pearl of an experience.

Categories: Verse | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Fictioneers ~ The Code

copyright-renee-homan-heath

Step by step.

A grand last view, if not grand last words: “Keep movin’ ye rat!” A shove in the back.

As if I’d stumble so easily!

And even shady palm trees. .

Step by step. T’wards my necklace of rope, and my ocean, looking suspiciously calm today.

No more maraudin’ when swingin’ from the gallows. No more saucy wenches, teasin’ me of my gains as I hang…

Ah, but I imagine by now you’ll be thinkin'; “what’s a dead man doing writing?”

Did you forget the pirate’s code, and really think the bushes were free of my crew?

…Tut tut…

~~~~~~~~~~~~

100 Words

Friday Fictioneers – welcome aboard!

Picture Renee Homan Heath

Categories: Flash Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | 64 Comments

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