Tuesday, February 18, 2003


Last week, The Wall Street Journal's online bullhorn, OpinionJournal, put up a list of pro-war poems on their website, in response to the Poets Against the War movement. While many of the poems (on both sides, frankly) are a load of bunk, a friend (and former poetry professor) of mine pointed out that they may have missed the point when they put up a poem by Colin Dodds called "The War Takes Shape":

I was never much of a smoker,
but it was all so thick in the air.

The gods were aroused, desirous.
Their pheromones of fire and screaming
overtook our plans.

The stink below Canal Street
makes us mad for retribution.
The race of airplanes
unleashes its warrior caste.

Bloodlust is no weaker,
nor more complicated to arouse
than any other lust.

In the bars, the restaurants,
we talk war until we love each other.

Our conversations begin in diplomatic morass
and end in nuclear consummation,
tasting every permutation of horror in between.

And we hurry to the final explosion
just to be over with it, just to stop
wanting such things for a moment.

History and the old animal gods
squeeze us close.

We do all we can
to escape their embrace
and end up doing all that they ask.

It seems Colin slipped a fast one past Mr. Taranto, who apparently can't understand that this is far from a pro-war poem.


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