Battle Poem by John Davidson


Rating: 3.1

The war of words is done;
The red-lipped cannon speak;
The battle has begun.

The web your speeches spun
Tears and blood shall streak;
The war of words is done.

Smoke enshrouds the sun;
Earth staggers at the shriek
Of battle new begun.

Poltroons and braggarts run:
Woe to the poor, the meek!
The war of words is done.

"And hope not now to shun
The doom that dogs the weak,"
Thunders every gun;

"Victory must be won."
When the red-lipped cannon speak,
The war of words is done,
The slaughter has begun.

Lantz Pierre 26 January 2017

This is one of my favorite poetic forms. The way the first and third lines must repeat in the subsequent stanzas, the constraint of the ABA rhyme scheme, all make for a very dense, difficult form to wrestle into submission. To keep the lines fresh even as they roll over on themselves over and over, without relent, works very well with the theme of the transition from verbal combat to physical. The on-going struggle, the dance of two competing sides locked in a duel of mutual destruction is well played out. The shift in the last line from battle to the word slaughter is a stroke of mastery bringing the carnage to fore as the words come to a close, perfectly mimicking the context of these verses. I am always impressed to read a villanelle which is so skillfully brought to fruition.

1 0 Reply
Tom Allport 26 January 2017

a poem that sends a message of what happens when dialogue breaks down.

1 0 Reply
Bernard F. Asuncion 26 January 2017

It truly happens..... Thanks for sharing.....

0 1 Reply
M Asim Nehal 26 January 2017

This is nice poem keeping in view the present scenario.

2 1 Reply
Mountain Man 26 January 2017

The battles of this life are going to another day

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Anil Kumar Panda 26 January 2017

Talk is the best way to solve a problem. But this is what happens when talks break down and war starts. Thanks for sharing.

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Edward Kofi Louis 26 January 2017

Slaughter! ! Thanks for sharing.

1 2 Reply
John Davidson

John Davidson

Barrhead, East Renfrewshire, Scotland
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