Poem: We are all at war

by Aki Schilz

I have been trying to generate a ‘poetic response’ to the Writers In Prison Anthology since yesterday, but the more I read the more I feel I have nothing to contribute that isn’t trite or worthless. This is such a huge and worthy cause and I am worried I might write something that has no context, no basis. How can I possibly know what it is like to be in prison? I live in a democratic country where my ideas are listened to, and valued, and I am free to write and research, to be educated, to have food and shelter, to live. The levels of depravity in certain other parts of the world overwhelm me. My mood today: reflective; sad; inspired; defeated. I have the freedom to speak, to express myself, and I am very lucky. But today, I wish to be still.

I have an idea for a longer poem I want to write, but that will take time, and since I had pledged to blog something today, I have decided simply to write something from the heart, with no drafts and no analysis, no note-taking and research. I am not a poet, but I’m giving it a shot:


I hear

Cries of war that

Shake the heavens like

Rain from the mountains.

Revolution! Revolution!

All rush forward

and fall

Hope sinking

into the sodden earth

with the broken bodies

until the rain.

Earth rises;

Muddied floodwaters red with blood

rolling towards

Revolution that

moves ever forward,

ever further

ever distant.

I hear

Cries of grief that

Dash the silver from the clouds

One sigh shattering

the pristine silence of the night.

All love’s grief

is copper-coloured

Nor will it ever be washed clean

From the shining skies

Which darken quickly

Hushed to stillness.

We are all at war.