Monday, December 5, 2011

The Ugly War - II

Perhaps , I was not wrong when in my previous post , I said that war kills sensibility , sensitivity………..humane in us. The other day I chanced upon a poem by Carolyn Forche , an American poet recounting a real life incident, when she visited a Colonel in war-torn El Salvador, decades ago. Here’s the poem or rather poetry in prose :


“ WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD is true. I was in his house. His wife carried
a tray of coffee and sugar. His daughter filed her nails, his son went
out for the night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol on the
cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on its black cord over
the house. On the television was a cop show. It was in English.
Broken bottles were embedded in the walls around the house to
scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his hands to lace. On
the windows there were gratings like those in liquor stores. We had
dinner, rack of lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for
calling the maid. The maid brought green mangoes, salt, a type of
bread. I was asked how I enjoyed the country. There was a brief
commercial in Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was
some talk then of how difficult it had become to govern. The parrot
said hello on the terrace. The colonel told it to shut up, and pushed
himself from the table. My friend said to me with his eyes: say
nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to bring groceries
home. He spilled many human ears on the table. They were like
dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this. He took one
of them in his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a water
glass. It came alive there. I am tired of fooling around he said. As
for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go fuck them-
selves. He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last
of his wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no? he said. Some
of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the
ears on the floor were pressed to the ground. “

The readers may judge and see for themselves the painful images and the poignant feelings these lines evoke !


  1. many poets and writers have penned volumes on the futility of war. But as long as there is politics and politician, there will always be some arguments in favour of war. Sh. Sampoornanand, Former Chief Minister of U.P. and one time minister of Govt. of India once said, "We want peace and therefore we want war."

  2. A lot of wars creation of politicians.

  3. .

    RK Sir, No one wants war. At least i don't want. I want to live in peace with all my brothers and sisters on this earth. I wish to see celebrations and get togethers. Smiles and laughters all around. But is it all possible? Some people wish the opposite and hence the wars takes place.

    The lines you mentioned are revealing the pain...the lost charm....the lost zeal ....


  4. this is very very sad! These are poignant words which show the atrocities of war= oh that we should all pray for peace.