On War: Notes to My Son
…and to yours, and to all of us.
Sir Roger is currently in the land of the poppy but not near Flanders fields. Yet there are poppies here in the South of France and the whiff of war and bloody conflict is inescapably faintly background to all.
And so it was a cold and brassy wind which blew through Sir Roger’s eye sockets and resonated in his skull and rattled the bones of his skeleton when Les recited this poem, perhaps the angriest, truest, most biting and chilling verse of war Sir Roger has ever heard.
Notes for My Son
Remember when you hear them beginning to say Freedom
Look carefully–see who it is that they want you to butcher.
Remember, when you say that the old trick would not have
fooled you for a moment
That every time it is the trick which seems new.
Remember that you will have to put in irons
Your better nature, if it will desert to them.
Remember, remember their faces–watch them carefully:
For every step you take is on somebody’s body.
And every cherry you plant for them is a gibbet
And every furrow you turn for them is a grave
Remember, the smell of burning will not sicken you
If they persuade you that it will thaw the world
Beware. The blood of a child does not smell so bitter
If you have shed it with a high moral purpose.
So that because the woodcutter disobeyed
they will not burn her today or any day
So that for lack of a joiner’s obedience
The crucifixion will not now take place
So that when they come to sell you their bloody corruption
You will gather the spit of your chest
And plant it in their faces.
– Alex Comfort
Posted: 27 May, 2012 in Australian Politics, Australian Values, History, Iraq, Language, Life, Literature, politics and government, values.
Tags: Afghanistan, alex comfort, anti-war, Australian Values, comfort, History, Iraq, Literature, notes to my son, poem, poetry, politics, Remember when you hear them beginning to say Freedom, values, verse, war, WWI, WWII