War is Like Water


War is like water:
When it appears, vast and waveless, at a distance,
You aren’t always sure it’s there.
Or you tell yourself: that deep, that distant blue
Is just the sky.
Surely the sky.

It conducts electricity (and anger)
It preserves heat (and fire)
Its layers are home to creatures:
Some moving, some dead,
And some shape-shifting
by need and circumstance.

War is like water:

Cries do not penetrate it,
But electricity does.
And so they charge:

Some enter for glory
Some enter for despair
Some enter for ignorance
And some – because they see no other way
to stay afloat.

Currents grab them, and carry them,
And slam them into each other,
Mixing blood sweat spit fists throats voices
As from the shore someone says:
“Ah! Can this view get any better?”

War is like water:

Ancient ships lie buried beneath it, while
Storms and seaweed float to its surface
Through currents and foam
From bullets and bones.

It shimmers for some
And swallows others.
Some tread it;
Some drink it;
Some suffocate.

War is like water:

It has no color, yet plenty of shades.
And it looks pure and weightless until
Its weight is upon you:
Weight formed of drops
That ache to matter.

It heats up by nature
Into burns and blisters.
It freezes and boils.
It has many states at once.

And somewhere, it always is.

Water is like water, because

Our bodies are made of it, but
our lungs are not made for it.

So you run out of air
Just as you realize:
You’ve seen this before.
Somewhere. TV? newspapers? radio?

… Remember?
You liked to think of it as the sky:
That deep, that spotless distant blue.

July 2014

Image credit: www.thetimes.co.uk


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