a tribute to Rudyard Kipling

‘Hope’ by Nirdesha Munasinghe

if you can turn your diffidence to wonder,
be humble yet make confidence enlarge;
turn sparks of motivation into thunder
by harnessing your self-igniting charge,
like Sisyphus, if you can roll those boulders
enough to make an avalanche avert,
if you can pull the knives from out your shoulders
despite the knowledge every blade will hurt,

if you can find compassion in the waters
where others seek to imitate the shark,
if you can thwart trajectories of mortars
so shells misfire and never find their mark,
if you can stand like Tell’s courageous target
prepared to take the crossbow bolt and bleed
or pay the highest…

(inspired by Walt Whitman)

source

Oh conscience! My conscience! Our mission reached its end
But horror burns inside my brain and Lord, I can’t pretend,
The flames of searing memoria cause such controversy
I watched my brothers’ beg for death and others beg for mercy,
Collateral, you say is just,
My orders are for silence,
I must not break a soldier’s trust,
I must deny the violence.

Oh conscience! My conscience! Allegiances distort,
I cannot bear to tell these lies in military court,
The faces of the families that know of our abuses,
Their eyes, they burn with hatred like incendiary fuses,
I see my Captain’s stone visage,
No beads…

This is the ‘jo’ phase; the beginning part of the poem

a half-kasen renku poem

a contemporary homage to the William Blake classic

source

I wander streets, my life in pieces
where the poisoned Thames does reek
and mark in every hooded Jesus
marks of weakness, scars that speak,

in every cry of poor conditions,
every mother’s sense of doom,
in every rant of politicians
poverty leaves little room

for broken soldiers, minds like caverns
left to rot in godless ruts,
for churches turned to fancy taverns,
clinics closed in spending cuts,

but most thro’ midnight streets I listen
how the young hyenas cry,
the streetlamps make the knife-blades glisten;
on the pavement, left to die.

The original William Blake poem, “London” published in…

a remembrance poem

“Poppies by the river” by Olha Darchuk

The fallow fells of la Boiselle,
Befouled by blood and bomb
And sunken shafts are paths to Hell,
The Styx that was the Somme,
Tranquility, un canal morte,
Embankments lined with life cut short,
Tranquility,
Tranquility,
I see old Scotland in my thoughts.

The hoar of war obscures the scar
That rips the battle-lines,
The blasted bones of Lochnagar
A bowl of burning mines,
Tranquility, un nom tragique
And if she could the Somme would speak,
Tranquility,
Tranquility,
Serene as scenes from Glen Coe peak.

Hear Ovillers, just over there,
A fringe of fire and smoke
And chlorine cloys the noxious air
So those that live may choke,
Tranquility, chantez pour nous
So we may see this souffrance through,
Tranquility,
Tranquility,
The Lord will send me home to you.

This poem is written in the Trijan Refrain form, a form devised by the poet, Jan Turner.

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