Weekly feature by: Keith Moul
Had sun shone on the fateful day, much would have been the same,
beyond peace keeper’s control, but more people would check orchards
bursting with early regional fruits, spring rivers plunging to the valleys.
Not everyone saw, and few believed, the newspaper reporting of a war.
True to say, but aggressive war begins best in summer as commanders
consider convenience of attacking troops and temporary shock among
those peoples targeted for destruction. Later, these will be “good times,”
long days advancing without much resistance, lightning war, wildfires
of panic as the fifty millimeter leaves total separation in its bloody wake.
At headquarters, commanders scrutinize intelligence, offer calm assurance.
Armed forces always train to expert readiness. Rapid deployment, much as
minutemen with muskets, instant mobilization relieves the worried citizens
of doubts regarding immediate total tactical invasion by land, air, or irony.
Militias not well-regulated retaliate by skirmishing along impromptu lines.
News arrives, is immediately touted from the capital. Citing provocation
and insolence among the people, the land army attacks on multiple fronts.
By a shivered wall a soldier stands hunched over, his eyes icy like yellow tile.
The wall itself has erupted mortar, tips, and finally yields to early corruption.
What possessed supporters to lend their wills to misadventure? So ardently?
To win this victory over neighbors who for centuries sang drinking songs,
woke up to labor in the fields, fish the streams, fix a clock, love their wives?
Beyond the wall, now powder, a teeter-totter hoists two children into smoke.
One brandishes a wooden sword, the other a toy rifle equipped with real bolt,
and they rise and fall and rise and fall, rise and fall as on a fiery white steed:
from ground atop the smoke to see the battle unfold in all the ruined acres.
Policies may change as leadership changes. Policing commences an occupancy.
Streets now broil with distrust. The old are worse for change; the young rearm.