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.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

3 responses to “What Did You Do In The War?

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