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.

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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

One response to “What Did You Do In The War?

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