Just another life.

Over at The Carrot Ranch Community I stumbled upon an article about cemeteries. It is a very well written article and suggests, I think, that cemeteries are a treasure trove of human history, full of stories from our past. This may be very true in some cases, but I have always been struck by the notion that they rarely tell the full story and tend to gloss over the less palatable realities.

Nowhere does this notion come to mind more than in military cemeteries – where the great myth of war heroics is perpetuated.

My response to the lovely people at Carrot Ranch was, therefore, a bit negative. Because cemeteries, military or otherwise, have always struck me as outdoor museums of human folly.

This is what I had to say …

*

A call to arms. Another land

Ideals I did not understand

Buried story. Hidden truth

Ideals are not bullet proof

A fallen hero? Fallen son

Lost to what could not be won

An epitaph to bold and brave

Here etched in stone upon my grave

Words of praise, of noble fight

Words that I would never write

 

Don’t search through words you’ve  heard before

These words were not worth fighting for

Don’t search these graves. Don’t ask the dead

Search within your souls instead

No heroes here. Please move along

Go back to where you all came from

There is no honour, only fear

Death is the only message here

I was a soldier, was a fool

Do you see honour? More fool you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

16 thoughts on “Just another life.

  1. Well said. It’s like all the white flags, almost 700,000 of them reminding me of the white crosses at Arlington National cemetery. It is an impressive sight but does it really sink in? Apparently not.

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    1. To quote Henry Miller a few times …. ‘We kill because we are afraid of our own shadow, afraid that if we used a little common sense we’d have to admit that our glorious principles were wrong’ and ‘Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.’

      Liked by 1 person

  2. deeply profound pops … aligns with my sentiments!

    My father – the one who actually reared me – grandfather and 4 uncles went to war for various reasons but returned with their ghosts that haunted their entire life. I often thought those who died too young escaped a tormented future!

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    1. My own father was something of a decorated war hero. He confessed that he was a bit disappointed when the war finished – he’d been having a great time!
      But he was not taken in by all the good vs evil bullshit … it was just a boys-own adventure to him.
      He also always expressed a wish to die on a Wednesday night so that he could be loaded into the bin and taken out with the rest of the garbage on Thursday morning

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  3. I appreciate every perspective, Richmond. How else do we see a broader truth but to each present our sliver of it? I read your comment about your father. In the veteran family circles, we talk about the harm a father’s war brings to his sons and daughters.

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  4. Pingback: Draft Collection « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  5. Thank you for crafting your thoughts, Richmond, I feel the sadness and frustration behind your words and I share much of your sentiment. It’s heartbreaking to know our world still has the ability to rationalise war, which in turn crafts a need in our communities to answer that call. The soldiers we honour fought in the best way they knew how at a time when there were very few options. I see pain in military cemeteries too, but also, I see bravery and am inspired by those who gave everything in a world where fear and pain and death were most often the rewards for protecting those they cared for.

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  6. Sadly I think that frequently the victims are 18 year old boys seeking adventure and wound up by the propaganda of their respective governments. They have little concept of the ideals that they allegedly represent.
    By reassuring ourselves that they gave their all to protect those they loved is way we hide the horrible reality from ourselves.
    That said, I have no disrespect for those who fought (on either side).

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    1. Yes. Imagine if everything ordinary citizen (and particularly those of the less elite classes) in every country on the planet simply said, “No. I’m not picking up a weapon for any reason. Ever. I will not kill for you. Do you understand? If you rich and powerful people really think it’s that important, then go and do it yourselves.”

      Liked by 1 person

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