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To the War Poets

by Curt Hopkins

“This story shall the good man teach his son.” –William Shakespeare, Henry V

All the words they’ve bitten out of war
And written down in shaking hand with blood
Half whiskey, or, in grim mastery of self,
Pronounced above the paper’s breaking heart,
That they believed would free them from their dark
Solitaire with truth by freeing truth
From its heavy cradle in their brains and flood
The dim acre of the human soul with its glow,
They’ve torn in vain from the body of their suffering,
To no good end they bit the heart from the corpse
Of their innocence and kept its taste alive,
For nowhere is there courage and compassion enough
To drink with open eyes from such a cup.
The poems were just a way to stay alive.