Verdun, an ancient fortress town strategically placed on the road to Paris. It has a long history of siege and conflict. During W.W.II it became a symbol of French resistance when it survived a long and terrible assault from vastly superior german troops. The painting by Felix Vallotton was contributed as this week's prompt by Magpie Tales
Sharp. Angular. The forms man brings to bear. How apt! Snapped shut or open. Scissor-wise. Knives in pincer movements cut. Shred. softer forms that Nature spread in kinder days. Man's browns have muddied purer greens. Where pastures were strange landscapes have replaced their peace with heave and blast of earth. I say: if ever this great onslaught ends (somewhere beyond the death of friends I do not doubt), then shall the landscape fall into a silence, speak the death of speech, the death of sapiens. Only the homo in us will survive. I dare to say of this: if ever it should end -- the stuttering machine gun madness; exploding earth and cries of pain; then shall we hear: no birdsong; whispers from no furry creatures in the non-existent undergrowth; no rustling of dead leaves. No sounds beyond the sighings of the dead in search of graves. If it had eyes, this landscape would lie silent, staring into space, a dumb and broken thing. See now: beyond the small hill's brow shapes piled that might be corpses -- or fallen trees... or simply shadows thrown by the light of hell. I say again: if ever this great onslaught ends there will be nothing left for light to show -- except the most impenetrable darkness man has ever seen.
some really great lines dave....speak
the death of speech,
the death of sapiens....is where you first caught me....though i do like the angular play against the antural in the beginning too...if only it ever stop....i hear that...smiles.
Powerful writing; quite moving...
"Man's browns have muddied purer greens." --- So true, Dave.
I think in this poem you are giving voice to a town that had a difficult role, and what darkness it has indeed seen.
This is great, Dave... love the internal rhyming...
Excellent poem. War is undoubtedly the worst side of humanity.
Your voice rings out loud .. clear .. we need to listen. This is one of my favorite 'Dave poems' ever!!!
Your poem could be read in a lesson on war writing and in particular war poetry.
Oh, I got caught up in this one...
War has no winners, as you have so clearly stated here. Such a powerful poem. Thank you.
Chilling stuff Dave, chilling stuff.
May the great onslaught end someday...
your words arre stunning, Dave , you have cut to the metaphysical heart of warfare. ww1 was the first display of overwhelming technology, used destructively, ww2 brought the concept of total war. ww3 has been underway since the end of the cold war, a cold, machine like state of constant warfare , the conclusion of which shall dtermine , as you say , wether we get to keep the SAPIEN . OUR souls are on the line this time. cheers mate .
"there will be nothing left for light to show - except the most impenetrable darkness man has ever seen."
This is probably the most powerful line I have ever read.
It provokes a feeling of horror at the capability of man to bring about the destruction of all life - even of the planet itself.
Disturbing, yet profoundly moving.
I will remember these words forever.
This poem is fitting memorial to the the Armistice and the horror that was Verdun. There are many powerful images and stanzas, but the last two are specially effective, with a kind of grim beauty to them that stays with the reader. Very fine poem.
Many thanks for so many kind observations. They do mean a great deal.
Yes, Verdun suffered greatly, but it seems not to have had the recognition of some battle grounds.
Thanks. Much appreciated.
Yes, by a long way, I think.
Good of you to say this. I shall certainly take it to heart. Thanks.
A mighty fine compliment indeed. Grateful thanks for saying so.
Thanks Sue. Very kind.
The Elephants Child
this is certainly true. Thank you for your thoughts -- and the much valued compliment.
Beautiful, poignant write, Dave...very much in the style of Edward Thomas...
War is hell that is fur sure.....a powerful write Dave!
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