Friday, 1 May 2015


Written for Rochdale's commemoration of Gallipoli this is, like my other war poems, not a celebration of courage and sacrifice (important as those things are) but an indictment of war itself and of the foolishness of the human race.

Canakkale Savasi
Where victory is no sweeter than defeat
A battlefield between the high ground
And the moral high ground
The beach and the hills
The gulf of belief between them
A stubborn separation of ideologies
Oceans or continents apart
Stripped-bare lands, smouldering and smoking
Drenched in blood

Where victory is no sweeter than defeat
Defeat the only exit
A battlefield of slow contrition
And lives wasting day by day
Where a quick death becomes preferable
To a slow-dying, slow-starving, forced-walk
Towards an impossible exile
And the victors loose the one thing that mattered
And with humanity destroyed, what was left?

Where victory is no sweeter than defeat
Where new countries emerge
With foundations of blood built on suffering
Again the blood flows from the high ground
With new hatred, new wars and new causes
And the pain echoes across another century
No celebrations nor commemorations
Nor pomp nor ceremony disguise
The days humanity faded

Where victory is no sweeter than defeat
A battleground, named by the defeated
Remembered for butchery, for death
Defeat the only exit
Victory a lingering defeat
Surely no pride, only sadness
And a perpetual warning; ignored
Through blood soaked centuries

To humanity's peril

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