Blood and Bone and Poppies

summer stubble
over young soldiers’ bones
another war

When Iraq war began, after all those worldwide protests and people saying (to the US) ‘Of course you can win the war, but can you win the peace?’ — everyone knowing it could not end well and that it was based on a lie, and it began anyway, I was seriously depressed. We in the west were fed our daily bullshit, knowing that so many people were dying and that all it was creating was more hatred. I painted with black and wrote the above summer stubble poem to Basho, in answer to his famous poem:

Ah! Summer grasses!
All that remains
Of the warriors’ dreams

                            by Matsuo Basho 1644-1694
                            Translated by: R. H. Blyth, 1952

I have trouble with war. Who doesn’t? Most of the time it seems to be the equivalent of animals fighting over a nesting site, or the favour of the females. And all the nationalistic fervour just breeds more hatred and makes people blind to the simple fact that we are all human. We are all human with people we love and tiny children who know nothing of all this until we indoctrinate them into it. 

When I was in grade one, I used to give my lunch to a little aboriginal girl who had none. The colour of her skin meant nothing to me.  My mum started to pack enough lunch for her too. Later I discovered that the land I walked on was drenched with the blood of her people.

I feel embarrassed. I feel embarrassed about so much that people do. Don’t tell me all the reasons for this war or that war, I do know the facts. I still feel embarrassed about it.

Flanders fields 
row on row of poppies 
where blood once flowed

Delicate Anger (acrylic on canvas with cut marks)  © Belinda Broughton
Delicate Anger (acrylic on canvas with cut marks) © Belinda Broughton

carpe diem distillation # 8

42 thoughts on “Blood and Bone and Poppies

  1. If they were not cut marks I would have hope to see stars in a velvet sky…

    I have never been one to like war. I was misfit of the Conflict of the late 1960’s – The Hippies protested the war, because that is what it was. And the vets of that war were not treated kindly on their return. I now have family in the US Army. They have served in Iraq. I have also had family in the Navy and some who served in WWII. At least the Vets are honored more today – though no war is justified.

    I recycled a prompt from last month that fit – please enjoy:

    1. I do know what it’s like to be a serviceman’s family also. I have a great respect for the serving and returned, and their families. My gripe is with the people who are too quick to send these young people off, and who don’t look after them when they return. But mostly just the fact that humanity does it at all!

      1. From the very beginning too – from one cave clan to another, better cave, better place at the river, better hunting grounds. One would think humans would have learned…

  2. As lovely and poignant expression of the futility of war as can be read anywhere. I’ve stated in other comments how I feel about man’s inhumanity to man, especially the treatment of the American Indian and won’t say more in this venue. What I WILL say is “BRAVO!” for this powerful post!!

  3. Belinda what a beautiful post … I don’t like war too … I am a pacifist and I belief in unconditional as the only way to solve problems little and big. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Belinda,
    This is a stunning piece that strikes a deep and personal chord in my heart. Your mother must have been a fabulous woman to have raised you so well.

    Thanks for this war protest. We need more writers writing for positive social change.

    1. one of the main causes of my depression was the feeling that protest was futile. but let’s face it it is pretty much all we can do.
      My mum would laugh heartily to hear someone say she was fabulous, but she was in her funny quiet Aussie way.

      1. I get pretty discouraged, too. I struggle daily with the feeling that “resistance is futile” (Daleks) against the international corporate machine. But I keep writing and speaking up and living as right as I can and doing what I can do. These things are what I’ve been given that I can do.

        Perhaps living right can spread like a contagion. Words are powerful. Connection is powerful.

        You must keep writing. I shall too.

  5. I am so glad this was reblogged so I could read it and see your art work. Brava. Couldn’t agree more but you expressed it so much better.

  6. This is Memorial Day weekend, when we acknowledge those who and served and died in war. It always rankles, the senseless loss. Your post is a fitting tribute. When will humanity awaken to our Oneness? We must hold onto the vision.

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