dVerse — Poetics 438 — Along the Marne, resides…

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/Le_Pont_sur_la_Marne_%C3%A0_Cr%C3%A9teil%2C_par_Paul_C%C3%A9zanne%2C_Yorck.jpg/610px-Le_Pont_sur_la_Marne_%C3%A0_Cr%C3%A9teil%2C_par_Paul_C%C3%A9zanne%2C_Yorck.jpg

Bused tourists travel through with cameras,
bound to snap shots of old war memorials
along the Marne, on our plateau of tears.
Some may notice a mound near the banks
where polaroid splashes of wildflowers grow.
A place where those who live in these parts
know resides the remains of trophæum.

Reeking, foreign uniforms happened here,
collapsed in our beds, hugging their rifles.
Breakfast wheat, pails of milk, eggs, fowl;
famished, then full, ready to rapine. Not
our daughters but our lifeblood as sure.
The bull, dark peppered as he bellowed,
running mad, until he sank to his knees.
Herd, clumped and lowing near the barn,
chased by laughing soldiers with sticks,

scattered. Sunrise amnesia trudged them
back for milking – before they joined him.
A smirking soldier who was a farmer in his
own land used the tractor to heap them.
Not worth using precious gasoline to pyre,
there they rotted, ribcaged castles to rats.

Now a flowery displumement of death, only
by chance shall the random tourist capture
ghosts of our invader’s toxic memorials.

Video is of World War I footage in France (has minimal images of death) while the song, “La Chanson de Craonne” plays.  You have to go to youtube if you choose to see it.

Björn is today’s host of dVerse’ Poetics. Björn says:
So now please pen yourself a new war poem. I think no matter our own experience I am sure that we fear what war can do, maybe it’s something you meet in the eyes of a refugee, in your nightmares or from reading a book.

image:  “Les Bords de la Marne,” painted in 1888 by Paul Cézanne

62 Comments Add yours

  1. kim881 says:

    The opening stanza sets the scene so well, Lisa, but does not prepare the reader for what is to come. I like the ‘polaroid splashes of wildflowers’. The flashback comes as a shock, so horrific, especially the ‘ribcaged castles to rats’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kim, I’m not sure where this poem even came from. The idea of people taking tours of where wars were held feels so ghoulish to me and the statues and memorials erected to remember them so empty. Thank you very much for reading and your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. sanaarizvi says:

    “Some may notice a mound near the banks where polaroid splashes of wildflowers grow,”.. this is particularly moving, as I reflect how nature goes on despite the horrors of war.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Sanaa. I remember seeing photos in National Geographic of old weapons of war rusting yet in fields where the invaders are long gone. How can the people ever forget 😦

      Like

  3. Ingrid says:

    Wow, Lisa – you write as though you were there! I can quite picture the horrific scene of the ravages of war, hidden beneath the picture-postcard scene for tourists.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Ingrid, yes, those haunting realities that are always lying just below the surface.

      I wanted to let you know I made a comment on your poem a few minutes ago but it didn’t seem to post. If it doesn’t show up, let me know and I’ll try again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ingrid says:

        No problem Lisa, I got your comment, thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I lived near Craonne. The song is quite subversive given that soldiers were being shot for mutiny at the time. Nothing lived on that plateau, not a single blade of grass. What a tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I read the lyrics in English and can see why the well-to-do’s would feel threatened by the truth of the song. To have lived there, Jane, you must have felt the sorrows of the dead 😦

      Like

      1. I ended up seeing a doctor about it. Every bit of woodland had bomb craters in it, every hillside had a war cemetery. There was even a German war cemetery overlooking the supermarket. I used to get so depressed by the presence of death.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          A living nightmare is what you are describing. What is a German war cemetery doing in France? They need to get that out of there.

          Like

          1. They came to realise that none of those men who died wanted anything more than to go home. All the countries with war dead have their cemeteries and nobody objected to the Germans burying their dead. There must have been a load of Germans killed on that particular hill and they put the remains in the ground where they found them.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Helen Dehner says:

    I will have to echo Ron ….. oh my god. You have composed an epic poem …..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks, Helen.

      Like

  6. robtkistner says:

    This is powerfully well written Lisa. I especially liked “only by chance shall the random tourist capture ghosts of our invader’s”. Every country has such ghosts looming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Rob. Yes, they do. We have a cemetery north of here (Mouth Cemetery, Montague) that is said to be haunted, by the people in the graves where the headstones are AND by the Native Tribe that was slaughtered just down the hill, near the water 😦

      Like

  7. I don’t know that I’d like to be a tourist there! Thought provoking read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I know what you mean, Tricia. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Xan says:

    Searing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Alexandra.

      Like

  9. Sadje says:

    Very disturbing and cruel images come to mind. That is what war does to humans

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, it’s like a dark side of human nature comes out 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Athira says:

    Dark side of the world

    Liked by 1 person

  11. rothpoetry says:

    A very interesting post! Most don’t see the ugly ghosts of the past. War like race gets glossed over and the atrocities covered and erased.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, Dwight, I agree. How could they ever forget when each time they passed that spot they remembered?

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is the unfortunate truth:

    only
    by chance shall the random tourist capture
    ghosts of our invader’s toxic memorials.

    You wrote a wrenching poem, Lisa.

    -David

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, David. I wish it was a poem that didn’t need to be written.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. memadtwo says:

    There is nothing good to be said about war. You have captured this graphically and true. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kerfe, thank you. Wish it wasn’t so 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. memadtwo says:

        Yes and yes again.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Ron.

      Like

  14. merrildsmith says:

    Very powerful, Lisa.
    The park where I walk nearly every day was a Revolutionary War battle site. There are bodies buried in unmarked graves. I always feel like there could be ghosts. . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Merril.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. merrildsmith says:

        You’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I find it amazing that the most fertile places are on battlefields and places of death… it has always been a thought that scared me and perhaps even sickened me as I imagine the bread growing from flesh.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      It is a jolting reality isn’t it!

      Like

    2. Lona Gynt says:

      Like in Saana’s poem, every beach has a roseate hue of blood, every field, all our bread.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. lillian says:

    So well written….from the beautiful scenery photographed by the tourist, to the reality of what happened there written in chilling details. The bull image is searing. These words, ” ready to rapine. Not our daughters but our lifeblood as sure.” give another definition of the word “rape”. A chilling write.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Lillian. To be aware of the events is chilling enough. To have experienced them must be so much worse. War, a pall on us all.

      Like

  17. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    You know I always think odd things…but for some reason when I read it I was thinking of a memorial and people talking about it but little did they know someone was there who was at that battle or whatever listening to them… Wouldn’t that be a surreal event?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, it would! Are you talking about the ghosts of the dead listening? It wouldn’t surprise me at all, Max.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

        Well I wasn’t but…THAT is awesome. That is another take.

        There was a movie…that I’m trying to find…Charles Branson was at this famous shootout and years later he came back and there was guided tours of the place because of what happened…. and he slipped in unknown and was hearing false things that happened.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Ah! Yes that would be interesting wouldn’t it. Remember “Unforgiven” and English Bob and his embellishments? One of the best westerns ever made.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

            Oh I love that movie! See I read crazy things into writing lol…

            One question for you…totally off the wall. I have a movie coming up on the 10th that has a lot of symbolism in it (Vanishing Point)…I thought of you. I was wondering if you ever watched it before? When you brought up symbolism up a few weeks ago I thought of the movie and reviewed it.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. msjadeli says:

              I think I saw it once. Is this with the guy with the fast white car? Barry Newman maybe? It’s been so long ago since seeing it I can’t remember much beyond the car (if it’s even the right movie I”m thinking about.)

              Liked by 1 person

              1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

                Yes…and they mention it in Death Proof…well the second part of Death Proof is kinda built around it. That is the one with Barry Newman. It’s almost…almost a muscle car movie that meets the Twilight Zone…

                Liked by 1 person

                1. msjadeli says:

                  Oh is that white car in Death Proof the same one (or same model) as the one in Vanishing Point? I forgot that. Dangit I wonder if I can fit Death Proof into the draft? (unless you were already going to use it?)

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

                    Yes it is…oh I turned it in…it goes on Feb 10th…Sorry….But I thought of you right away…not because of Death Proof but because of the symbolism. I want to see what you make of some of it. It’s a movie I would love to watch with everyone to ask people what certain things meant to them.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. msjadeli says:

                      🙂 now you have me intrigued…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. badfinger20 (Max) says:

                      Good! Like it or not you are the one I thought of lol. Check your email.

                      Liked by 1 person

  18. M Jay Dixit says:

    That was very dark, the contrasting images of “splashes of wildflower and Reeking, foreign uniforms happened here,.., hugging rifles.” That was very intense. You aced that prompt, Lisa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Jay.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Lona Gynt says:

    Lisa, these ghosts, My God. Your poem is lovely and chilling, how humanity gets appropriated by its hunger. the mud, the rapine, I thought of the farmer, plundering as a soldier, laughing, but no less inhuman that what is asked of him when doing his duty. The video made me weep.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      😦 there is no happy ending for anyone from war. only rich f*cks getting richer. my dad’s brother died in ww2, and my dad was never the same after he returned from it…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lona Gynt says:

        😢 so many ghosts

        Liked by 1 person

  20. You set the scene,and then it tore apart like weapons firing. The ending was horrific. Excellent writing, Lisa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Sara, thank you for your feedback on it. Much appreciated 🙂

      Like

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