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David Ray

 

SESTINA FOR A TROUBLED YEAR

"The beast of dialectic dragged his chains"
– Stanley Kunitz

Our hosts of the evening both believe in the war,
how we must have it, and how evil by good
must be put in its place. If there have been lies
in abundance they have been told for good reason.
The worst weapons, whether found or not, must exist,
for our leader says so, and all has been decided.

There is nothing that has not already been decided.
There is no point in debating, for we are going to war.
It is sad, but those in the way have no right to exist.
They must be destroyed, but only for the greater good.
And we guests who sit at dinner should not try to reason
with those who have accepted as gospel all the lies.

In our lives we have learned not to challenge most lies,
for they too often prevail when any issue is decided
and it’s a convention to lie if it’s for the right reason.
Propaganda well-used is a tool to inspire such a war,
for the public may not be aware of the greater good
that cannot be stated, for fear it cannot be proved to exist.

Those in power will decide who has a right to exist
and what cities will fall into rubble as a result of the lies
though we must recall that this war is for the greater good,
when the most terrible weapons will be unleashed as decided.
Don’t forget that peace – only peace – is the goal of this war
and if you do not understand that, you are deficient in reason.

I confess I am stupid, for I cannot grasp the reason
we must bomb foreign lands – perhaps for oil that is said to exist
by billions of barrels under the sands, well worth a war.
And yet I am bothered by some of the most obvious lies,
and I still find it odd that one man in power has decided
for all the world that this war is defined as the great good.

He has never been in a war, so how can he know it is good
when the killing begins and men seem to have lost all reason
until the hell they have made relents and an outcome’s decided.
As they kill and are killed they will fight for one goal – to exist –
and before it is over many will hate all the lies
and those who have told them to bring on the war.

I never saw a good war. I do not think a war can be good.
Each starts and ends with lies, excuses, and some reason
to use weapons that exist, the how, why, and where by fools decided.

 

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