Tag Archives: war

Book List 2019 – All quiet on the Western Front by E.M. Remarque


 

 

vintage classics

So this is the first book I’ve read this year. If only we all studied this one maybe the world would be different in a good way? “wars are an orgy of forgetting”  Daša Drndicfrom  the Croatian  writer says in her newest book E.E.G. ( Which is on my definite to read list ).  Much of Remarque’s book is a series of forgetting – what it was like to be school boys, what it was like to fight for glory, what it was like to be human…. But I take it also a step further, this forgetting – its a selective thing. Generation after generation we forget the whole truth and once more take up the gauntlet of heroism, glory, allegiance to the cause, crown and country. For my generation it was Vietnam after which a whole bunch of folks swore to the American people and to the world that there would be no more “Vietnams”. You can google that one to see how long we remembered those lessons.

Remargue does not preach, does play politics, nor does he lower his story to propaganda. Rather it is a plain truth lesson based on his own experiences during the “War to end all wars” Word War 1. Unfortunately it is a lesson still relevant and needing to be learned today and much as it was since its first publication in 1929. I would wager that every veteran of any conflict since would, while maybe not agreeing with me , would definitely be able to relate to what All Quiet On The Western Front has to say about the experiences of men during warfare.

Rather than go one my own tangent I am including excerpts from the work so it might speak for itself. I think Remarque’s words much more poignant and elegant than my own would ever be. The photographs are taken by Morgan Lyons from a 1996 Vintage Classics edition.

 

 

1996 Vintage Classics Edition

 

 

1996 Vintage Classics

Vintage Classics p.69

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Maria_Remarque

During World War I, Remarque was conscripted into the German Army at the age of 18. On 12 June 1917, he was transferred to the Western Front, 2nd Company, Reserves, Field Depot of the 2nd Guards Reserve Division at Hem-Lenglet…..

In 1943, the government arrested his youngest sister, Elfriede Scholz, who had stayed behind in Germany with her husband and two children. After a trial in the “Volksgerichtshof” (Hitler’s extra-constitutional “People’s Court”), she was found guilty of “undermining morale” for stating that she considered the war lost. Court President Roland Freisler declared, “Ihr Bruder ist uns leider entwischt—Sie aber werden uns nicht entwischen” (“Your brother is unfortunately beyond our reach—you, however, will not escape us”). Scholz was beheaded on 16 December 1943, and the cost of her prosecution, imprisonment and execution—495.80 Reichsmark—was charged to her sister Erna.[9]

 

In his spoken introduction to the 1956 CBS Radio Workshop adaptation of his novel Brave New World, Huxley said: “The price of liberty, and even of common humanity, is eternal vigilance.”

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she thought they would be safe, from Bella and Shirley by pd lyons


CSC_2219

– she thought they would be safe.

told them that they were supporters, that her older son

was in their army.

sure they said and shoved her, sure then we’ll be gentle.

her youngest son they shot for coming to her aid.

they tied her to the bed post while they did things to her daughter.

then they shot the daughter to death as well.

when we found her she had torn her wrists bloody trying to get free.

She says:

These are not my hands

They do not belong to me.

These are the hands that did not save my children.

She begs us to chop them off

We have to always have someone with her otherwise she tears off the bandages with her teeth.

 

The woman would speak only in whispers and leaned into Tilkon

– Oh Tilkon said, ah she wants to give you something

meaning Shirley

 

The woman reached into a canvass bag she’d carried slung across her chest

fumbling, needed help

one of the younger girls who had been her watcher assisted

whispering

– are you sure? asked the girl

and the woman nodded

so she handed Shirley the news paper wrapped object.

– it is a shirt . the girl explained. it was for her son.

more whispers

– she thinks it will fit you said the girl,

she wants you to have it.

she made it for her son.

she says yours has too much blood.

Shirley opens the packages.

– thank you she says, thank you for this kindness. gives it to me to hold while she pulls off her bloodied old shirt and puts on the new denim blue carefully fastening each riveted button.

 

Before we can do anything else the woman, fumbles in the bag again

– Wait she says wait she says out loud in her own voice.

shes pulled out a photograph. rushes up to Shirley

– Here she says her this is my boy, my son, my only child. look

he is not like them

he is no animal

please if you see him

please do not kill him

please his mother loves him tell him

please he is a good boy he would never do such things she waves her arms

across the dead woman across the tied and dying naked man…

 

Shirley takes the photo

– yes i will remember him. i will promise.

shows me the photo as well

– yes i say, yes i too will promise.

 

– take the picture back. Shirley says. We will remember, we wont forget.

the woman smiles,

– I know she says . I know.

wipes the tears from her face with her bandaged wrists, turns away comforted by the young girl .

 

 

heading to the lady camp from Bella & Shirley by pd lyons


(lady camp)

up in the highlands. a small camp once used by shepherds. there was a clean water source and not much more when we started but now? three small cabins, latrines, cooking fires. Do you now there is a way to make a smokeless fire?

really! i said.

they help each other. whatever one knows is what one does. and for those who didn’t know much, look outs were always needed besides a mind sharpened by the promise of safety and food learns quick. there are even a few men. good men. not always someone’s relation but men who had helped or tried to help. men who had proven themselves. one fellow was an expert with  noiseless ways of trapping animals. there are also some very good fisher ladies she laughed. we live like savages but honest savages. there are things to eat from the wilderness. there are people who can listen to any story and be your sister when you’re done. For the most part we get on . Even the men seem able to keep themselves in line. word gets around and she nodded towards the screaming fellow. there is a vow of no romance until this madness ends.

– you think it will? end? asks Shirley

– I don’t know she answers even lower. But if we don’t conduct ourselves like it will, then we’ll just tear and be torn apart .

Why don’t you come? We should leave soon I’m thinking. You should see the place.

– I’m not sure said Shirley, looking over to me surprisingly demure …We do have business.

– Business?

– You know, things to do.

– Yes she said I know. I know the things you do. It is a business that needs doing. But what we do is good too. Besides there will still be plenty for you to do when you leave us.

you’ll be surprised by how many of our ladies you might know…. I can tell you there are many who’ll never forget you. Anyway I’ll promise to have someone show you, how to make that smokeless fire.

night wood

night wood

(So We Went)

The Buddha Trees, by pd lyons


 

sometimes autumn is all there is

sometimes autumn is all there is

The Buddha Trees

 

 

I have escaped.

Finding myself

In a foreign country

Smoking endlessly free tobacco

Finding myself

Only able to sit by this window

Looking at trees

One after the other

 

I have escaped.

Finding myself

In new running shoes

Safe among strangers

Finding myself

Only able to hear music in my head

La  la la la la   la laaa

A woman’s voice

As if asking,

Could I take up my instrument once more?

As if saying,

Together we could skip through spring once more.

As if trusting the concealment of trees

Had been enough.

.

 

DSC_0031

Community College 1974 – poem by pd lyons


yale art gallery

Yale art gallery

Community College 1974

 first day,

we were classmates.

showed us photos –

himself,

in training

 in uniform

 with his buddies

 with his dead gook

next day,

no one sat near him.

next day,

didn’t show.

never came back.

DSC_7884_NEFYale art gallery – unknown photographer

First Day of Spring, by pd Lyons. As published by Shift Lit – Derry


 

First Day of Spring

my daughter asks me
why did people invent war?
don’t they know it’s the devil not god that likes war?
do children have to fight?
do they kill children too?
boys, and girls?
how old are the children?
why don’t the soldiers just quit?

and then the sound of helicopter passing
she thinks it wondrous dashes off to look

and for all those for whom that sound is terror?

because of them
we must love the world
all the more

 

Published in Shift #4 Revoution Issue:

http://www.facebook.com/SHIFT-Lit-Derry

photo by shift lit derry

photo by shift lit derry

We can never obtain peace, The Dalai Lama, in The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness


We can never obtain peace

We can never obtain peace in the world if we neglect the inner world and don’t make peace with ourselves. World peace must develop out of inner peace. Without inner peace it is impossible to achieve world peace, external peace. Weapons themselves do not act. They have not come out of the blue. Man has made them. But even given those weapons, those terrible weapons, they cannot act by themselves. As long as they are left alone in storage they cannot do any harm. A human being must use them. Someone must push the button. Satan, the evil powers, cannot push that button. Human beings must do it.

–The Dalai Lama, in The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYEsFQ_gt7c

First Day of Spring, by pd lyons


First Day of Spring

my daughter asks me
why did people invent war?
don’t they know it’s the devil not god that likes war?
do children have to fight?
do they kill children too?
boys, and girls?
how old are the children?
why don’t the soldiers just quit?

and then the sound of helicopter passing
she thinks it wondrous dashes off to look

and for all those for whom that sound is terror?

because of them
we must love the world
all the more.

unknown photographer

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