Sometime in 2004, my younger brother Jack, the high school history and English teacher, challenged me to write an anti-war poem -- in the particular stanza format that he provided as a guide. This led to one of my first verse compositions:
Bread and Circuses
(in the Gaelic Bardic verse style)
Mired in heat and dust and sand
Gallant band of brothers true
Country's service is their aim
Death and maiming is their due
In where angels fear to tread
Foolish, dreaded leaders rush
Bringing power's fearsome groan
Leaving only graveyard's hush
"By the pricking of my thumbs"
This way comes the wicked pawn
Drunk with drinking conquest's draught
Juggernaut goes crushing on
Won with honest trifles' lure
Still so sure in dwindling light
Now betrayed in consequence
Of the senseless, needless fight
Can this be the path they chose?
How can those who serve inquire?
Why has this rough beast come 'round,
To be drowned and born in fire?
Stillborn monster, undead thing!
How we sing your praises high!
Those whom we’ve made destitute
Still salute and fight and die
Hear the crowd's roar! Feel the heat:
Sizzling meat now roasting slow
Do they die for reasons known?
Or for only pomp and show?
Who has wavered; who stands fast
'Till the last good soul goes free?
Who says "he" and who says "she"?
Who but thee and who but me
Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright 2004