African Poems

John Pepper Clark (The Casualties)

 The casualties are not only those who are dead.
 They are well out of  it.
 The casualties are not only those who are dead.
 Though they await burial by installment.
 The casualties are not only those who are lost
 Persons or property, hard as it is
 To grope  for a touch that some
 May not know is not there.
 The casualties are not only those led away by night.
 The cell is a cruel place, sometimes a haven.
 No where as absolute as the grave.
 The casualties are not only those who started
 A fire and now cannot put out. Thousands
 Are are burning that have no say in the matter.
 The casualties are not only those who are escaping.
 The shattered shall become prisoners in
 A fortress of falling walls
 
 The casualties are many, and a good member as well
 Outside the scenes of ravage and wreck;
 They are the emissaries of rift,
  So smug in smoke-rooms they haunt abroad,
  They do not see the funeral piles
  At home eating up the forests.
  They are wandering minstrels who, beating on
  The drums of the human heart, draw the world
  Into a dance with rites it does not know.
 
The drums overwhelm the guns…
Caught in the clash of counter claims and charges
 When not in the niche others left,
 We fall.
 All casualties of the war.
 Because we cannot hear each other speak.
 Because eyes have ceased the face from the crowd.
 Because whether we know or
 Do not the extent of wrongs on all sides,
 We are characters now other than before
 The war began, the stay-at-home unsettled
 
 By taxes and rumours, the looters for office
 And wares, fearful everyday the owners may return.
 We are all casualties,
 All sagging as are
 The cases celebrated for kwashiorkor.
 The unforseen camp-follower of not just our war.
 

Topic(s) of this poem: war

Poem Submitted: Friday, August 8, 2014

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Comments about John Pepper Clark (The Casualties) by African Poems

  • Chidubem (11/3/2020 6:16:00 AM)

    A clear picture of insight.

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  • Nweke peter T (10/31/2020 3:13:00 AM)

    The all day fresh poem kudos to you J P Clark

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  • Charles Gilbert (10/16/2020 3:24:00 AM)

    RIP literary icon

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  • Olasoju OLASUNKANMI funsho (10/14/2020 2:10:00 AM)

    RIP JP CLARK.

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  • Anthony Mary JonesAnthony Mary Jones (12/29/2018 6:55:00 PM)

    Everyone are casualty no matter their class.I love JP Clark's poems

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  • Mamus Degreat Ejeba (9/9/2018 1:45:00 PM)

    Add a comment.These are timeless and evergreen poems of all times.

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  • Mamus Degreat Ejeba (9/9/2018 1:43:00 PM)

    Add a comment.These are timeless and evergreen poems of all times.

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  • Kayode Are (8/2/2018 7:21:00 AM)

    A timeless poem. The verses apply beyond Civil War to the struggle for democracy and politics. The casualties are many, not only the dead, but the living inclusive, most beyond the battlefield.

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  • Michael OrdiaMichael Ordia (7/2/2018 7:15:00 PM)

    This is lovely. I love this poem

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  • Abimbola OgunsowoboAbimbola Ogunsowobo (6/16/2018 1:43:00 AM)

    Very good
    I love this

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  • Emmiasky Ojex (6/13/2018 4:57:00 AM)

    Nice one, John is really a great poet.

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  • nuhuphilz (2/2/2018 7:23:00 PM)

    Add a comment.a very interesting poem

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  • Osazee DankaroOsazee Dankaro (9/26/2016 10:13:00 AM)

    Every abuse of power, every corrupt act, every misappropriation of fund, and every action taken by those who ought to be our leader, we end up being the casualties. Funny thing is that we are casualties in a war can do nothing about. Afterall, we are Africans.

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  • Onuora IlodibeOnuora Ilodibe (6/16/2016 1:41:00 AM)

    A remarkable post civil war poem... The poor are the expendables and are the actual casualties. So close to happening again... Every one is a casualties....

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  • Folorunso Oladipo DanielFolorunso Oladipo Daniel (12/19/2015 4:37:00 PM)

    this poem supposes to link with 'Not my Business' by Osundare, because those who believes it is not their business are later found as casualties. nice poem.

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