Ready To Kill

Ten minutes now I have been looking at this.

I have gone by here before and wondered about it.

This is a bronze memorial of a famous general

Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolver on him.

I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be hauled away to the scrap yard.

I put it straight to you,

After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factory hand, the fireman and the teamster, Have all been remembered with bronze memorials, Shaping them on the job of getting all of us Something to eat and something to wear, When they stack a few silhouettes Against the sky Here in the park, And show the real huskies that are doing the work of the world, and feeding people instead of butchering them, Then maybe I will stand here

And look easy at this general of the army holding a flag in the air,

And riding like hell on horseback

Ready to kill anybody that gets in his way,

Ready to run the red blood and slush the bowels of men all over the sweet new grass of the prairie.

Perhaps by scanning the above examples you can see that, except for the farewell and the chronicle, you don't have to be in a war to write about one. In fact, although the various types outlined here will help you come up with ideas for poems, you might want to simplify the genre of war poetry by thinking of it in these terms:

• Poet as Visionary. The poet can be a veteran of a war —someone who has fought in or witnessed one —or someone who hasn't. The poet gives his or her overview of events; praises, scorns or memorializes combatants; studies combatants or civilians affected by war; imagines what it would have been like to have fought in a war; or makes political statements about war.

• Poet as Eyewitness. The poet should be a veteran — someone who has fought in or witnessed a war (military or civilian). Content can be about any aspect of such an experience viewed or felt firsthand by the participant.

Basically, the visionary method puts the emphasis on the poet and his perspectives or opinions. The eyewitness method emphasizes the impact on or experiences of a veteran, conveying to readers firsthand the felt emotion of participating in or being affected by combat.

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