Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

This is W.A.R

by Dane Hurst

We are righteous, upright and marching forwards,
training as we go to fight against iniquity.
Little to live for but too much to not die for.
Martyrs or peacemakers, civilians or workers,
the collective conscience stirring our shaking
bones unaware in a climate of changing air.
The winds are blowing and the water is flowing,
protests and unrest, uprising in dormant nations,
chaos amongst old leaders trembling in aged fortresses.
At the frontline they stand, casting stones in vain,
the disaffected souls, praying for needed change,
fighting for victory to have something make sense.
We are the reapers, we are the righteous,
the worthy progeny of our fathers’ fathers.
Return we must to sift through the debris
as floors beneath our feet crumble while we run,   
picking up the pieces to rebuild and create
the new armor that will withstand
the mother of all evils, mammon.
Without greed there will be no war,
without god we are empty to the core,
but to what God, to who’s God do we choose to pray?
We are all good people, Muslims, Jews and Christians,
securing our truth, the only truth we say
and to those without foundation, who stand
on their own validation, what is their path
and who is their consolation?
Scattered substances of faith or ideology
flaked and pulled out of the ignorant air,
tearing apart at the seams the constitution
of our divine construction, spilling the vital
life force that reminds us of our mortality.
In the hour of great need what do we choose to do?
Pray and ask for strength to fight the battle through
or ignore the counsels and live like we alone are worthy,
like we alone are chosen, like the rest are just jesters?
We are the reason, we are the revolution;
a breastplate of resilience, a sword of divine sharpness,
the helmet removed to pierce the eyes of the attack
with a stare of compassion and a heart of saving grace.
We are righteous, upright and marching forwards,
little to live for but too much to not die for.

Added: 19.03.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


The syntax in Line 3 and the last line spoil the poem for me. Some inspired writing.


You caught me with the 'we'. The last stanza is my personal favourite, with the stare of compassion which pierces. I am awed by this poem.


I like the idea and message but it feels a bit too much like a manifesto rather than a poem and it's quite wordy. Maybe it could do with subbing, refining. Not easy to make politics poetic... Keep trying though if that's what you love!