Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Face of War

Marcus Cirillo, age 5

This is the face of one touched by war,
by those who refuse to find a way
to live peaceably with others,
a face touched
by extremism, by hatred,
by misguided anger 
towards perceived "differences".
This is the face of
a five year old boy
who just lost his dad.


These are the faces not yet touched by war,
by division, by ideology:
a dad and a boy and their dog,
just starting out,
with all of the future before them,
and happy.


This is a soldier who was proud to serve,
his honor to guard the monument
of the Unknown Soldier,
gun standing down,
no defenses,
when an unstable soul
full of misguided ideology
raised his rifle
and blew away
all of his dreams.


These are the faces
of those who wait
day after day
for their person to come home.

And that does it.

Old Woman can no longer contain
all her tears
for all of the sorrow
and all of the loss
that living on this earth 
requires of us.

Weep with her, friends,
an ocean of tears,
enough to wash away
the pustulence of war,
hatred, divided ideologies,
fundamentalism, radicalization,
perceived differences,
lust for power and land and resources;
till the earth is washed clean
of all toxicity:
leaving behind only our dream,
a planet at peace,
with no more need
of soldiers.

Funeral cortege: Reuters/ Mark Blinch

Today, as I write this,  Cpl. Nathan Cirillo is being laid to rest in a state funeral, after being gunned down six days ago as he stood guard at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier. The longer I live, the sadder such things become, so his son's face, his dogs' faces, just do me in. It is hard to remain hopeful and yet, when I look at the smiling face of this young soldier, with whom our whole country has fallen in love, I have to believe life, love and goodness will ultimately triumph over all that threatens it. After every assault, the human spirit rises up to overcome.

posted for Gabriella's prompt at dVerse: War which, for me, must always mean anti-war.


  1. Thank-you for this. Tears mingle along with prayers...

  2. I feel punched and suffocated by what our world has become. I have been on military bases, when war broke out and seen the faces of concern-how would they, their families be affected. This is haunting and so sad and make s me want to cry for the world~ Thank you, Sherry for being brave and sharing your feelings! A wonderful poem which reminds us we are still waiting for the world to change~ It also makes me wish everyone who saw something odd tell someone-so the dots can be connected and innocent lives might be saved~

  3. The sad thing, Ella, is that the gunman had reached out for help just days before, and the system failed him.

  4. How very sad, Sherry. I think every soldier who loses his life in some kind of battle has a story. Everyone has a family, someone waiting for him/her to return. I wonder if anything would be different if people really began to think about the humanity instead of the issues.

  5. This is a very poignant combination of verse and photos, Sherry. Whatever the type of war death is always a tragedy for family and friends. It seems even more absurd and unfair when terrorism strikes.The photos of the son and the dog are particularly touching.

  6. heavy on my heart as well...that a boy has to lose his dad...and how that will impact the rest of his llife....hurts to think about...I am thankful for those that serve...and sad that it has to come to this

  7. The sadness of what hatred and war can do is beyond measure.. and it happens everywhere.. the way a story become close and personal is what touch me too.. But we should never ever let ourselves sink to that level...

  8. Fascinating & touching take on the prompt; giving us in the lower 48 a stronger glimpse at the rest of the story, reminding me of all the dogs that lie on master's tombstones starving themselves to death with grief. I love your hope for a world without soldiers, but even Switzerland has a standing Army; hell, so does Monaco. Human nature being what is its, no military equals an open invitation for victimization. I wish it were otherwise as wipe away my own tears, & clench my fists in anger.

  9. This was great Sherry - as if war was in a vacuum - all the interconnected destruction... this poem reminds me of how callous we are when we jump blindly, jingoistically. Excellent.

  10. wow....This brought me to tears...Thank you so much for writing this heartfelt poem.

  11. I was reading this today Sherry and it touched me very much ~ I hope the little boy will remember his father as a hero always ~

  12. I o weep with you. I grieve for all that you mention, especially the human spirit that is merdering itself. Wonderful post Sherry. I can hardly see the screen through my tears.

  13. True - I can only understand how difficult it might be for their loved ones, who has departed during the war - touched me and reminds me one of my favorite song - Hey Brother/Avicci

  14. A true tour-de-force, Sherry, with the photos illustrating and illuminating your verse in such a poignant and heartbreaking manner. The ultimate irony, of course, is that he was guarding a symbolic object that would have survived any vandalism that might have been rendered upon it, but there was no one there to guard him. How many guards do we place to guard the guards, and do we have our priorities just a little out of whack?

  15. Heartbreaking senseless and devastating. Thank you for this share.

  16. All these years Canada has been spared terrorism. It is a tragedy that it has now hit your shores as well.Very sad.

  17. So terribly sad, and very well expressed. Thanks, Sherry. Gee so sad.

  18. I wish you were right, Sherry. But I wonder if Agent Smith's manifesto in the original Matrix film isn't accurate... humans are like cancer... And now, I have to think of what will happen to my two sons. Powerful pen, Sherry ~

  19. It is sad that a boy is now without a dad. This is only one of the many boys left without the protection and love they needed. A pity that conflicts are not natural disasters that happened without warning. Conflicts are crafted by man against a man. Why this is so!.Great word craft Sherry!


  20. sherry... beautifully done... standing applause...you've captured the complete element of loss minus the tears... well, almost anyway my eyes welling up... thanks

  21. The deepest sadness, and the personal nature of your poem brings it home, is that we have learned nothing in the past 100 years, despite the plethora of poppies, and those who have died since WWII ended have died in unnecessary, illegal and immoral wars. Perhaps if we started to forget we might have less wars waged.

  22. I shudder to think what will our children face..how will they deal with what is handed to them?

  23. The faces of the little boy and the dogs were just the end of me... Senseless hatred and intent to kill are the scourge of the human race.

  24. Oh, those faces… forgive us, we know not what we do...

  25. Such a senseless killing--a great loss, not just for the family of Marcus Cirillo, but for us all as we now know how easy it is for a terrorist to strike. Well conceived and well written, Sherry

  26. beautiful words for such a tragic loss - soldiers seem to be the only thing that stands up to those who would oppress others.

  27. Praying for the day with no gun.... x

  28. oh, wow, I was gonna write about him, but not sure why I didn't. I'm glad you did a tribute for him. he seems like he was soooo sooooo soooo special.

    Born to Strife and Contention

  29. i think the only way to stay truly sane is to believe that things will always change for the better..when left to be as is..;)


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