In a Time of Endless Wars

Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test nucelar test nuclear war


I write for the men of a thousand years hence—

and the women—and their healthy children.

And…, if you are suffering, if night is day

and day is night,

I will drink the cup of despair with you,

for I have tasted of despair.


But…, if you are happy and wise,

may my words animate your limbs;

may you dance—as I danced

in the spring of my days.

In your dancing, my words will come again

even as they came from the Old Ones long ago

to fill my cup with dreams and desire.


From the grunting in the caves,

from the maker of the paintings

and the reaping praise of critics–

these words,crystallized over lifetimes,

will come again….

Outside, howling winds; inside, warming fire.


And if you have kept the flame of comradeship,

in spite of arrows and explosions;

if you have nurtured the flame–

I send salutations from a blood-drenched past.



if blood has drowned your best

and you find these strange and faded words—

on microchips, or chipped on cavernous walls–

then you have fulfilled the worst of us;

then: drink these words with gall!

May these wordsburn and diein your guts

for they and you have dwelt enough in darkness.

Enmity and fear will have hollowed us all.

Let the words burn and festerlike a dying star.


Then, my son, my daughter: you will confirm

we could not shakefree

ofthe chrysalis of war, entombing us,

still-birthing you.…


Never forgive us!

Dr. Gary Corseri’s articles, poems, fiction and dramas have appeared in hundreds of global periodicals and websites, including Pressenza, The New York Times, Village Voice, and VeteransNewsNow.  He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere.  He has published 2 novels, 2 collections of poems, and a literary anthology (edited).  He has taught in US public schools and prisons, and in universities in the US and Japan.  Contact: [email protected].


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