Daily Archives: January 28, 2017

What Did You Do In The War?

I wrote poems,
a lot of poems.

At the time
it seemed to many to be
an indulgence.

But now it seems
I wasn’t writing poems
as much as I was 
making bullets and 
planting seeds: bullets
for the moment, seeds
for the future.

Sometimes
one poem would be
both — those were the times
I think I was at my best. 

I do not like war —
I am not one of those
whose blood sings with it.
But there were times,
I admit, 
when I’d look
at what I’d written
and say, there’s one
that will hurt, there’s one
that will sprout later,
and I would sit back 
and say, there. There
it is.  I mean,

why do you fight a war
except for the chance
to hear poems
when it’s over?

(Which is why they killed
some of us,
you know.  It wasn’t
safe — not as dangerous
as some things, but still,
they killed some of us
not because
our bullets hurt them
but because our seeds
terrified them.)

When you ask me
what I did in the war,
I tell you this: it wasn’t
as much as some did,
but it was everything 
I could do — an indulgence,
maybe, but I did it with
my hands and it took
all the strength I had on
some days, some nights,
when the firefights came close
and I thought I would or should 
die but nonetheless I
kept the lamp on above the paper
as I tried to make a better world
with my pen.