Sunday, November 11, 2012

Armistice Day - A Magpie Tale

Verdun, 1917 by Felix Vallotton
from Tess at Mag 143 *click here*

World War I gave us so much pain and grief that we all decided this was the War To End All Wars It happened thus as Wiki says:
"The war to end war" (sometimes called "The war to end all wars") was a term for World War I. Originally idealistic, it is now used mainly in a disparaging way. During August 1914, immediately after the outbreak of the war, British author and social commentator H. G. Wells published a number of articles in the London newspapers that subsequently appeared as a book entitled The War That Will End War.

How's that working out, children?

Verdun as a city is thus, as Wiki says: "Verdun (Latin: Verodunum, meaning "strong fort") was founded by the Gauls (as its Celtic name shows; "Dunum" is the Latinized version of a Celtic word meaning oppidum). It has been the seat of the bishop of Verdun since the 4th century AD, with interruptions. In the Treaty of Verdun in AD 843, the empire of Charlemagne was divided into three parts."

Verdun was a military post from its beginning B.C. It was part of the Gaulish landscape before Caesar came.

The battle itself was a stagnation of the Western front that became a genuine meat grinder: "The Battle of Verdun was one of the major battles during the First World War on the Western Front. It was fought between the German and French armies, from 21 February to 18 December 1916, on hilly terrain north of the city of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France.

"According to contemporary estimations, Verdun resulted in 714,321 casualties, 377,231 on the French side and 337,000 on the German one. An average of 70,000 casualties for each of the ten months of the battle. It was the longest and one of the most devastating battles in the First World War and the history of warfare. Modern estimations increase the number of casualties to 976,000."

Most of a million people in ten months...

Are you grieving yet? You are all, ALL guilty of this and must carry the burden! No exceptions. Do you think God does not see? Of course some of you will say, "There is obviously no God here!" Good luck.

There are absolutely no heroes here. This is beyond dispute. You would be insane to try. Any attempt to paint it in patriotic tones is beyond disgusting. No wonder someone should try to capture some of it in horror.

No wonder I might dare to try.

The War To End War

The boil swells in me
before it erupts on skin
reddened by mustard,
that gas they did use
in all their sweet love,
in grasping for what we held
after they held it
and then we held it
all over again drowned in blood
spilled on this same ground
for ten long dirty
shit filled months that stank, oh how
it stank out in front
of all that damn death.

The awareness it was happening again in Vietnam made me crazy in 1966. I quit the Army, took to drugs and to the streets, took an exile, felt joy when they jumped up and down on cars in 1972 when Nixon came to town, did not hold it peacefully together. I too, waged the war to end war. God help me, I would do it all again, trash the streets again. Sometimes I just hate it here, hate who I must be here, hate the compulsions that have driven me insane. To look full in the face a place where you could literally drown in the blood and blasted offal of the whole world, that should be the meaning of Armistice (now Veteran's Day).

And then, after first knowing that, smelling, hearing and feeling that, because there are really people who survive this, and we are ALL guilty of it, such that ALL who survive it are equally perpetrators and victims, should we not weep, weep, and weep again? I have wept and raged and then run away, grateful that I could go years without thought of it.

And of course in the end we do not forget, some of us - maybe in the end ALL of us.


  1. Heart-warming to know there are still those who passionately remember...

  2. I applaud your emotion, passion, hatred for war.

  3. Good research and you described this as if you have known it. Full of emotion.

  4. well written with good, true passion

  5. Raw, earthy...I can smell the stench...

  6. How is it working out children? You nailed it.

  7. This War

    to end all
    we pay our toll
    in blood we pay
    for you
    and you
    and you
    we pay
    that you may never have to
    see what we see
    feel that which we have felt
    know this
    for in blood do we pay
    for you never to have this experance

  8. Personal and profound.

    thank you

  9. Very profound and personal Chris - gave me more to think about.

    We are all insane...

    Shakespeare had it wrong "What a piece of work is man...."

    Anna :o]


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