How do I write about war?

All I have is memories of memories –
like feathers, plucked and swirling –
the fires they lit at the end,
in places that had been kept dark
for years. Dancing. My father
handing over hollowed bread,
a telegram that broke a woman.

Bodies in the water.

The horses, being led away,
through the farm gate. Lost.

A city full of women. Children
without fathers, running wild.

A man walking. Feathers

that we grasp and grab. We press them
into wax, make wings of them

knowing that Icarus will fall.

Bjorn is hosting at dVerse, and asks us to write about war. I found this a difficult prompt. As I say, I only have memories of memories about war – my parents’ experience of WWII as small children, stories I’ve heard from that generation and the generation above.

A poem about remembrance


“All men in war are victims”,
A wise man once said,
He neglected to add that surviving
Can be worse than being dead.

“Run! Run!” yells a man,
Diving, darting, plunging towards death,
Blood spills, men scream,
Last words flutter with a last breath.

“Shells! Shells!” yells a man,
They fall, hooting eerily.
Sinew splatters, men weep,
But we plunge on wearily.

“All men in war are victims”
No truer words could be said.
I’m alone with my thoughts and my memories,
And I’m envious of the dead.

F. Connor 2017.

I like to post a poem for Armistice Day. I usually go to the War Poets, but this is by my 13 year old, who has been doing Power and Conflict at school.