30 June 2008

Poetry & War

I found this typically smart post from Anna Clark, keeper of the very nice blog Isak. Anna is a writer and reader, among other things, and laments the nearly automatic resistance to any poetry that addresses matters of war and peace. It seems to me that the predicament Anna identifies is an instance of the more general attempt to gerrymander art and politics. You will not be surprised that I largely agree with Anna's lament; much of the poetry I have posted touches on that broader tendency, if only by offering counterexamples. Anna seems spot on when she claims the ratio of good to bad poems about war is roughly the same as the ratio of good to bad poems. So, since I had been tempted to post the following poem anyway, she has prompted me to do so today.
Grace Paley*

The boys from St. Bernard's
and the boys from
Our Lady of Pompeii
converge on the corner of Bleeker and Bank

There is a grinding of snowballs
and a cracking of ice

The name of the Lord is invoked

But for such healthy tough warriors
He has other deaths in mind

They part
* Grace Paley. Begin Again: Collected Poems. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2001, page 21.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you

30 June, 2008 17:51  

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