You told me once that you have not seen war you did not know how war smelt: the dust of disgust accumulated, hardened layers of dirty hatred that formed the bedrock of frivolous minds. You told me once that you have not read about war glorified sordid stories of power retold Stolen moments of heroes and villains Pointless anecdotes of their pains and pleasures that you and I fail to feel. Long after the war was over and the guns grew still wounded minds refused to heal leaving behind the impression of futility and vehement lamentation of languid souls. Long after the war was over and the world outside grew smaller you heard your shadow’s visceral voices as truth and it was hard to see the point sometimes when you were at war with yourself.
Lead me into
that gentle soft morning,
to that place
where men once stood
commanding the Sun,
to that place
where a half forgotten
long ago adagio
whispers through the air,
across the broken ground
and its sleeping grass,
to that place
moistened by the dew
of half remembered
Lead me then into
that gentle soft morning
of a going,
of a never coming back later;
Later the grand parade
waiting at that place
where men once stood
commanding the Sun;
themselves cocooned in rapture
for the final salute,
one last acknowledgement
that all this,
Author’s Footnote :-
This poem was originally entitled ” Kyrie Eleison ” and retains that moniker as featured on YouTube and possibly elsewhere.
Chiara, Arturo’s wife, approached them together with
Lucca and Francesca, the other Italian pair
Saying, ”Is Quare’s invention real? I think it is a myth.”
” His barometer measures the pressure of the air.”
Chiara wore a red big gown, with lace trimming the low,
A green velvet mantel, which was lined with some ermine,
Square neckline and sleeves, which were gathered at the elbow.
She spoke well Italian, Spanish, and German.
Italians wanted to disembark at Syracuse.
Bella and Miguel traveled to Barcelona home.
To find a new home, Naimah and his son had an excuse.
Out of their Turkey’s limit, through the storms, they would roam.
Tia, Athan, Megan, and Karsten would disembark
At Selanik, an Ottoman province, where Ahmed
The Third was reigning while his war was a fire in the dark.
They were Greeks being born during the reign of Mehmed.
Marco and Rosa, Cruz and Pedra, Pedro and Carla
Were Portuguese pairs coming home from America.
They had bought from the Pueblo Indians some ollas.
They gave one to the Russian pair, Ivan, and Erica.
Ivan said, ”Tell me something about these Indians.”
Carla said, ”Their belief means dualism; they eat corn.
Some of them became Catholic due to the Spanish civilians.
They think they emerged from the underwater space to be born.”
Carla wore a black cap, having a veil, and a green gown
Patterned with acorns and flowers, and her sleeves were caught
With jeweled clasps on the lace at the elbow; her eyes were brown.
”The water is fresh in the ollas; I like their color a lot.”
She asked Ivan” Now, where do you go? ” ‘’We left the war.”
”Ahmed and Peter the First! ” replied Cruz, ” tell me something,
How could you reach Constantinople after coming from a far ”
Zone? ””I do trade with them, but this war destroyed everything.”
”Did you lose everything you had? ” Marco asked Ivan.
”To make business in Turkey, I sold all my Russian goods.”
Erica tried this conversation to enliven,
”In Portugal, we’ll search for a job in cities and hoods.”
Marco wore a banyan with a patterned lining; his cuffs
Were embroidered in gold; his justacorps and stockings
Over his breeches were red like Rosa’s shoes and muffs.
All of them wore periwigs and talked a lot while walking.
(Geraldine, Maya, and Pedra were talking in the kitchen while drinking some Jasmine Yin Zhen tea.)
”Between Bosphorus and Dardanelles, the waters are calm, ”
Geraldine Said, ”I love the life and the sea while being on this ship.”
Maya said, ” Let me see the meaning of the lines in your palm! ”
”I worked a lot; I can’t feel my hands when something I grip.”
Maya insisted, ” Let me rub your hands with Gilead’ balm! ”
”I can’t stand the hustle and the bustle of some big cities.
Will you predict my future after reading my palm?
”You’ll be surrounded by death coming from the waves’ ditties.”
”What is this balm? ” ” It’s an extract from the bakha shrubs.”
”Where did you find this shrub? ” ”This extract is brought from Chios,
Where this tree grows near the sea; I use it to make balm and drugs.
It’s good for the stomach and prevents the skin infections.
I used it also to make bread tsoureki.” ”It’s sweet, ” Pedra said,
”You must know that this tree excited the cupidity of many invaders-
The groves of Jericho.” Maya touched her, ”Are you afraid? ”
”It’s a place where to fight Titus, Joshua, and the Crusaders
Emerged, ” Pedra took a long look at her, ”Do you have children? ”
”I have two boys who live in the southern part of the Ottoman Empire.
My husband died.” ”Why did you come here? ” ”I’m a poor woman.
Now, it’s a war; I want to work here, not to walk through the fire.’’
(Maya left the kitchen. On the deck, Marco, Rosa, and Cruz stopped for a few minutes their walk to admire the Marmara Sea while approaching Çanakkale.)
”Anybody who wants to pass through the Dardanelles
Must pay a tax. So, we must sit at the anchor in waiting
For an opening of this small Port of Çanakkale, ”
Said Cruz. ” About buying fuel, the seamen are still debating, ”
Said Marco.” This city is placed on two continents.”
” The shape of the strait is akin to that of a river.”
” Its history started with Troy. The tidal currents
Make this time of wait at Anchorage a deceiver.”
”The Dardanelles is the most dangerous waterway, ”
Said Rosa, ” Maya and Naimah are talking fiercely.”
Cruz said, ”They’ve seemed not to know each other until today.”
”What happened, Maya? ” ”He can’t stop speaking viciously.”
”It’s a fuel crisis, because of the lack of supply, ”
Said Athan, ‘many mines exploit lead, copper, and iron.”
”They are smelted with charcoal, which only some people may buy, ”
Said Karsten, ” some people have the powers of the lions.”
” There are heavy demands for the forests to build castles,
Cathedrals, houses, ships, mills, and machinery, ” said Cruz.
”The fuel for glass and brewing industries is on hassles, ”
Said Pedro, ” this drill of the coal deposits has an excuse.
I’ve heard the steam engine has a low efficiency.”
Tia said, ”overland, the costs of the transport are very high.
The English iron industries still lose their proficiency.”
Megan said, ” this revolution adds up to one big lie.”
”I’ve heard that, in Selanik, the Jews control the commerce, ”
Said Marco.”Greeks, Turks, Armenians, or Jews, ” said Athan,
”They can equally thrive the economy of Selanik,
Whether they read the Bible, the Torah or the Quran.”
Tia wore a fine golden silk brocade jacket having
A metallic gold floral lattice design and shape,
A petticoat of ribbed silk embroidered with silk yarn forming
Loops; its front fastened with clasps, tightened in back with cotton tape.
Karsten’s navy blue, collar, cuffs, and skirts were embroidered
With cream silk ‘point Beauvais’ garlands of pearls and flowers.
Athan’s vest of silk moiré and coat were pumpkin colored.
‘Twas embroidered with silver thread and silver sequins.
Tia and Athan were in need of loans for short terms
While intending to bridge the time gap between the pay
Of the taxes and the take of the sums from the owners of some firms.
They traveled to find those wealthy Muslims that loaned money.
”People can’t pay heavy taxes and accrue deficits.”
”They must pay these sums even their finances are low.”
”All these payments are done for the Empire’s benefits.”
”In this condition, Selanik is a place left to go.”
‘’To prevent people from leaving, the Empire minimized
Their losses while enacting a kaskamot that obligated them
To pay and to leave behind them a guarantor.” ”It’s civilized! ”
”If the women and the orphans can’t pay, the Muslims don’t condemn
Them, ” ”There’re allowances for the persons donating or loaning sums
And for the philanthropic acts like the payment for the abject poor.”
”They take from any owner or any visitor that comes,
From birth, from death and from the sacrifice passing their temple door.”
”Gabella is a tax levied on the purchase of a basic test
Kosher for foodstuffs like wine, meat, and cheese.”
”The rich men pay instead of the poor people to prevent their arrest.”
”There’re some taxes for those goods that are brought over the seas.”
”Here, the new public buildings are built using an eclectic style
To project the European face of this Empire.
”Our monasteries are the centers of learning for a while.”
”The head of the Orthodox Christians is like a Vizier.”
(Tia, Athan, Megan, and Karsten disembarked at Selanik while Frederick and some sail men went to buy fuel.)
(To be continued…)
Raging with fury, yearning to spit out the flux,
Words can’t suffice the expression of dismay,
After all the struggle, tired and famished,
Disgusted by perfect order and rules,
A touch of love dissolves the soul at war,
Unacceptable that love has the power to calm,
She shuns the lithe touch,
Back again love touches with braving innocence.
She sleeps, a calm resonance of unsettled desires picture in her eyes,
And trickle down in tears that adorn her pale cheeks.
Gray dark ,darkling gray
sky and sea both winding sheets
for the long departed ;
Nature’s coincidence calibrated
longitude and latitude lapsed
into the fury and the sound and
the sounding fury of foreboding fate
to drown,drown and never to escape ;
leviathans ,steel-plated icons of
Empires ranging and roaring where
Vikings once navigated by sunstone ;
No Valkyrie rescue of warriors slain
when Harrison’s chronometer pinpointed
parameters for steel-trimmed corteges
might and wrath bristling ,danced their
predestined Pavane amid the
flashing flames of glory ;
Oratorios of brilliant ordnance
breaching invincible carapaces ;
Marble memorials may recount the fallen ,
historians’erudite treatises the facts ;
On the last day in May ,
Europe’s pride and manhood bled
though without knowing it ,
into the void their Empires were shed .
Footnote :- 31st.May 1916 ,the forces of Albion under Jellicoe lost 8 destroyers,3 battle-cruisers,3 cruisers with 6,100 lives.Von Scheer’s Hohenzollern hosts , lost 4 light-cruisers,3 destroyers ,1 battle-cruiser,1 battleship with 2,550 lives.
The Seagull swoops theatrically ,
alighting onto the supporting stanchion ;
” Canada Remembers ” is affixed to
that railing where the Seagull now
stares off into the middle distance ,
perhaps at the Ferry from Dover inching
its way toward the harbour ;
calmer waters to-day unlike then ,
when they caused Canada to remember ;
” Banleda ,Bond ,Brown , Brush ,Byrne ,Cathcart ..”
twenty-six in all alphabetically tabulated ,
their five Motor Torpedo Boats numerically so ,
459 ,461 ,462 ,465 ,466 ;
We remember them now
amid all the firestorms that year
lost in the accidental fire and explosions
on Fourteenth February ,Nineteen-Forty Five
here in Ostend harbour ;
back then too a seagull swooped
theatrically alighting on the same stanchion ,
and had stared out to sea unaware
that Canada would be given cause
to remember and remember still .
And muted cries,
And unsaid goodbyes –
Were yours and mine
Since we opened our eyes.
In ruins we played,
Where once people prayed
And love was portrayed,
When peace had stayed –
These are yours and mine,
The memories so frayed.
Food bags with bombs,
The roads our own tombs,
Dear lives in wombs,
Seeking refuge in roofless rooms –
This page is yours and mine,
Which drowns, drains and dooms.
I remember how you’d cried
When the bad boy had pried
Away your doll’s limb; I tried –
I gave you my doll’s; your tears dried-
This loss is yours and mine,
Your legs, my arms; hopes’ve died.
Peace smiled from afar,
Like a delusional star,
Everything that was, is now char,
Blood looks like dried tar –
That stain is yours and mine,
Our forgotten life, their celebrated war.