Verdun, 1917 by © Felix Vallotton

Bombs whistle an unforgettable tune
as they drop their heavy payload
so unaware of their fleeting task.

In trenches they fight the good fight
no, not to kill, but to try
to stay alive
as gas floats bitter through
the air, unaware of its intention.

Did the old Lords, Barons
Brigadiers and Generals
fighting from safety
of their war-games rooms on
table-tops with metal tanks and men
ever realise these same things
they picked up and dropped
so casually
were made of flesh and blood
dying in the mud on foreign fields
enriching anything in future times
of peace which would grow from
the futility of it all as they
remained behind forever
with the enemy.

There is no glory to be found in war
only sleepless nights of guilt
which never ends for those who’ve
taken life and have to live with it.

Sad to know on both sides of the line
the toffs all believed these
precious lives were so



© Daydreamertoo      *All rights reserved

*As most of you know by now, I served in the army in the 1970’s. I’m a patriot and not a pacifist by any means but, life (and freedom) is so precious. We need to change the way we live before we, as a species bring about our own global demise.
You’d think we would have learned from two world wars by now and have made an effort to change our ways but, we haven’t learned a thing, except how to kill more humans, with less damage to infrastructure. We are a sad species, really.

Shared with Magpie Tales #143 Artwork of Felix Vallotton: Verdun

Author: Daydreamer

I live on a beautiful island in Atlantic Canada.

19 thoughts on “Expendable”

  1. Indeed, I think that anyone who has taken a life or taken lives will live with it for the rest of their life, even if it was part of their ‘duty.’ Strong write.

  2. I am a patriot and a pacifist. If those two terms seem contradictory, it may be that our country has waged war for so long that to NOT wave the flag, but rather to engage in nonviolent protest against war, may seem unpatriotic. I love America enough to take the time to use my First Amendment rights in constructive, strong, but never hostile manners. Does this make sense? Your poem screams out to me of truth, of justice, and (like Superman) of the American way that is not the American way at present. I also support the troops 100%, send cards of encouragement and pray for them every day. Your indictment of the generals pushing tanks around on a table is the very reason why I am a pacifist, in fact. GREAT work. Amy

  3. My friend’s son has come home from his duties as a sniper with so much guilt. He is just not the same kid, though he is slowly healing.

    Very difficult.


  4. There is no glory to be found in war
    only sleepless nights of guilt
    which never ends for those who’ve
    taken life and have to live with it.

    One knows this. And those who decided to drop the bombs also know this. The difference is we have a conscience but they don’t. They have to live with it. By that it’s imperative they suffer without us knowing. Nicely Bren!


  5. they picked up and dropped
    so casually
    were made of flesh and blood

    Chilling… but true. Do they realize? I hope to God they do/did. (and thanks for your service)

  6. Your words are even more powerful, given you served yourself. I often wish those in the board rooms bending over the maps were the ones on the front lines. I wonder how the ones who dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki lived out the rest of their lives – and they were sent by others – those at the top. I cant imagine the trauma of eighteen and nineteen year old kids, dropped into the theatre of war. I respect so much their willingness to go. But I wish even more that they didnt have to. Good one, Bren.

  7. It is so unfortunate that those who wage war are most likely those who will not lose their lives in the midst of it. A well written piece, Bren, and so true.

  8. Yeah nothing but destruction takes place, may be easier to do now, but as always those who start it hide behind their throne.

  9. I truly believe that those old men should be in front of all those young men they are so willing to sacrifice. Well written- thank you!

  10. i often wonder at the leaders who hide in the safety while they throw around the lives of those in their command…no glory in war…that is for sure….

  11. So many poems this week will be difficult to read .. for obvious reasons. … ‘there is no glory to be found in war’ says it all.

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