I have no words to speak of war.

Here, BulletHere, Bullet by Brian Turner

A series of poems about the author’s experiences as a soldier in Iraq, which together sum up the price of war and this war in particular.

‘In the Leupold Scope,’ where the narrator is looking through a spotting scope at a woman hanging laundry

She is dressing the dead

The narrator, by inference, just hasn’t shot the people who will wear those clothes yet.

In ‘AB Negative (The Surgeon’s Poem)’, a wounded soldier dies on her way to Germany

a way of dealing with the fact
that Thalia Fields is gone, long gone,
about as far from Mississippi
as she can get, ten thousand feet above Iraq
with a blanket draped over her body
and an exhausted surgeon in tears…

In ‘2000 lbs.’ Turner writes of a suicide bombing in Mosul using multiple viewpoints, beginning with the bomber

his thumb trembling over the button.”

followed by a taxi driver

…he regrets how so much can go wrong in a life,
how easily the years slip by…

a National Guardsman

…it’s just as well his eardrums ruptured
because it lends the world a certain calm…

and others, coming full circle back to the bomber

who may have invoked the Prophet’s name,
or not…

‘2000 lbs.’ is better at showing you what a suicide bombing is like than any photograph or video you ever saw.

In “Night in Blue’ Turner says

I have no words to speak of war.

You may beg to differ when you read this book.

One cranky note, because you know that’s how I roll: Here, Bullet is all free verse, with nary a sonnet or even any blank verse (Yes, I scanned some.) to be found. What ever happened to form in poetry?

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2 thoughts on “I have no words to speak of war.

  1. Dana free verse is currently the fashion, although form is gradually creeping back. It’s not as easy as it looks though, you find yourself slipping into bad blank verse willy-nilly!

    Like

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