Ending is true, by the way. That really happened. Don'tcha just love public schools traumatizing small children?
I am baffled by those who refer to war as a game
like chess, played respectfully in parks by elderly gentlemen.
But sometimes, in war, you can't see the other player's
pawns, rooks, knights, or bishops
and the Queen is free to sneak up from behind
and shoot you in the back.
In Vietnam, we didn't even know who the king was.
Strategy and weaponry and guerilla tactics.
I memorized them all for World History classes
and where has it gotten me?
I can tell you how the Colonists in the Revolutionary War
used similar methods of fighting against the British
as the Vietcong later did against American invaders.
I can tell you about the advent of the gas
masks and tanks in World War I
or how Wilfred Owen described the trenches.
(I know that "Dulce et Decorum Est" means
"It Is Sweet and Proper" in Latin.
Perhaps in Rome's history this is true.)
But at seventeen years of age, I also know I am of no use.
Short, solid, and cynical, my talents lie in memorization,
not action. I would be a Warm-soon-Cold body in war,
unable to find anyone to listen to me tell the story
of being ten years old, sitting in my stifling fifth grade
classroom, my body pressed, sticky and hot, against those of other children,
and staring, wide-eyed, at an unpleasant looking old Jewish refugee
as he talked about coming across the corpse of a small boy
with an axe in its forehead, a victim of indiscriminate slaughter.
My bio for the Poets Against the War site:
Artist, libertarian, and literature enthusiast whose potential has been sapped by the public school system. She enjoys saying the words 'pulchritudinous' and 'ermine' and wrote this poem while she should have been translating "Jason and the Argonauts."
Because I like it, if not the public schools. *HATE*