A hundred years ago

Europe was ablaze

An awful fire, open-pit

Like southern

Soldier picking


North Africa, western Asia

Cut into with blunt

European, Turkish knives

As if

The lands were

Burnt meat


Now the USA is adding

Fuel to the fire

My grandfather a soldier-stick

Serving with muscle and courage

And fear

(I’m guessing about the fear, for I never

Saw if in him)


Then all elevens,

And it’s over: fire tamped

Ashes rising, setting on new ground

Of anger and reparation


Peace rendered ironic

Buckets of grave dirt

Thrown against

Walls of retribution


Against which

New shadows will rise


C L Couch


(National Geographic Society)