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That Old Vision by Terry McDonagh, Irish Poet, Playwright and Writer
This is a short poem I wrote some years ago but, sadly, its relevance lives on.
That Old Vision
As a child, it always seemed to me that older men
loved war, except for some
who knew Mars from silent hill walks.
These men were decorated in jaded colours
and politics that hated sparkling eyes,
and innocent sun among high clouds.
We are deep in enemy territory and
enemy losses are heavy, cried the general
with blood squelching through his eye teeth.
A poet glanced over his shoulder at the past
pointing to a boy who shot his friend at dice.
The boy’s father runs free.
Some elders gouged out enemy hearts, found
them guilty and flung them to children, but
when a child fell upon a heart in peacetime,
the elders prayed before taking the child
into the deep woods
where they could hang him in peace.