Honore Daumier (1808-1879)
La Paix, Idylle (1871)

Poetry on Peace

R. L. Barth:

Looking for Peace (1981)

Edited by Peter Y. Chou

Three Poems from Looking for Peace


The outpost trench is deep with mud tonight.
Cold with the mountain winds and two-week's rain,
I watch the concertina. The starlight—
Scope hums, and rats assault the bunkers again.

You watch with me: Owen, Blunden, Sassoon.
Through sentry duty, everything you meant
Thickens to fear of nights without a moon.
War's war. We are, my friends, no different.



In night when colors all to black are cast,
Distinction lost, or gone down with the light
                                          Fulke Greville

No moon, no stars, only the leech-black sky,
Until Puff rends the darkness, spewing out
hs thin red flames, and then the quick reply
Of blue-green tracers climbing all about.
In night such lovely ways to kill, to die.



J. H., who threw himself on a grenade
to save the lives of six men with him

We're haunting these same mountains yet again,
Tracking down phantoms, and my weariness
Soaks in like fear. It deadens even pain.

This afternoon, we found twelve carcasses
Around bomb craters. Though I choked on the smell
Of maggot-breeding flesh at first, I bless

Those bodies now, for they are flaunting hell;
Bless them, for they are shattered and awry;
Bless them, for I have heard the words they tell:

"Come, friend; it is not difficult to die."

R. L. Barth,
Looking for Peace: Vietnam Poems (1981), pp. 39, 41, 50

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© Peter Y. Chou, WisdomPortal.com
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: peter@wisdomportal.com (3-9-2003)