Thursday, September 09, 2010

An American in Baghdad

I spend a lot of time including links and quotations to material that will give my students, one of my most important audiences, some idea of what is happening in the Middle East, and what people who live there think. But of course, I am probably wrong to assume that Canadian readers of student age necessarily understand American attitudes towards the current involvement of the United States in that region.   This is especially true since, as current controversies show, there is no single American attitude.

So here I am posting a poem written by a friend of mine from the United States, a National Guardsman who served a tour in Iraq:
Catharsis by CJ Roberts

(This was written by me...rather, it just came to me,  in the middle of a Route Clearance Mission in Baghdad)

The tattered armor of a thousand fights
hangs ragged on a tired frame.
Spinning sails and crumbling towers
stand silent against the skyline,
Their barren skeletons a grim reminder of the draconian rage that once invested them.
Each shattered lance a choice unmade,
or unacknowledged.
Yet one remains, arrow-straight,
its bright pennon fluttering in the wind,
straining for battle.
A charge?  One last chance to slay those demons who illuminate the path?
Or, without rancor,
furl the pennon,
hand down the lance.
Dismount the faithful steed habit,
and walk away,
at peace.

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