This poem did not end up as serious in tone as I had hoped. The rhyme gives it a light-heartedness that is in direct opposition to the subject-matter. Even the title seems inappropriate and yet, I am reluctant to lose it or to change the piece. Perhaps this is my subconscious way of coping with what I’m reading in the superb account of the war in Somalia in 1993, by Mark Bowden, “Black Hawk Down”. I’m halfway through this book—not something I would ever have thought I would read, but it is absolutely compelling because of the expert writing and the way it gets inside the heads of all concerned, on every level and on both sides.
I have also seen the film, “Black Hawk Down’, directed by Ridley Scott, of “Gladiator” fame. I watched it myself one day (Kevin had long been recommending it) and I did like the film, despite the subject matter. I intend to watch it again once I finish the book.
Bowden describes the events of “Black Hawk Down”— where a huge helicopter is brought down by an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) to the streets of Mogadishu and the after-effects as Rangers, Delta Force and other troops in Humvees and choppers and on foot attempt a rescue against hail of gunfire and grenades from mobs of Somali militants and civilians— as a “hornet’s nest” of fighting, killing and death.
I don’t even scratch the surface with this poem, but after a big cup of coffee I can only disclaim that this is what struck me (no pun intended).
When did we improve, upon daggers and spears
and begin firing balls of burnt metal?
Who can we thank for the clever device
that explodes on command, man or devil?
Whiz of ballistic, most often sadistic,
report of the calibered shot,
crossing roadways and alleys, or volleyed from galleys,
in clusters of grapes, molten-hot.
Once, with measured-out paces,two turned their faces,
then fired until one man would drop.
It was just the beginning of wars no one’s winning,
with ordinance no one can stop.
The entire world over, men running for cover
can thank the inventors who made
the first howitzer, rifle—one gun—meant to stifle
a person, or people, afraid.
Toast to Wesson and Smith and each of their kith
bringing killing and death to new heights.
Now with techn0-advances beyond cannons and lances
We ensure, take-no-prisoners fights!