Irony is one of my favorite literary devices. So much can be said through it that can't be said in other ways. Both of the following poems rely on irony to some degree. The first, "I Like War," can be referred to as extended irony. Much like its distant cousin, the extended metaphor, extended irony isn't just a single use of irony in a poem. Rather, it takes the simple concept and plays on it throughout the poem using a variety of conceits to drive the message, to make the point in differing ways.
"Piano" is a little more subtle. The poem could do without the irony of love notes, for the piano is a metaphor that gives the poem its somber tone.
Both of these poems were born from my experience serving in Iraq in 2005, though they were written a little later. The exact date I can't be sure of. Both were subsequently published in a digital chapbook titled "I Like War" and later in my full-length poetry book "Rumsfeld's Sandbox."
| Copyright by Allen Taylor | Copyright by Allen Taylor |
I Like War
I like war.
It teaches me to think
like water, wade through hearts
with lion-like precision;
I like war.
It empowers me,
lets me to hold other men
in that dark, intimate
space between him and his maker.
I love war.
She is a beautiful mistress.
Her tongue has pelted my skin
with riddles all too often. With cunning,
she spreads fear, blankets the panting
skies with cries of salvation.
War rains. Even on
War gives me reasons.
He tugs on my collar like hubris,
bursts upon my brow with audacity
as if Napoleon himself had
risen from the dead.
Oh, I like war;
in the years before gray. Sweet
is the battle – like corn, tart as lime,
and big. Very big. As much nice as
girly skirts in spring; the perfect
date any time of year.
I like war,
like all men,
I hope to win back
that part of me left home.
From knuckle to stone, from fist to fire;
Carthage to Baghdad, man to man:
If war is so damn good
then why does it push me down?
He closed his Wurlitzer
for the last time.
a hymn bequeathed
to a bride so fresh
her sheets will not press.
Lover, soldier, son:
alive now in memory,
his sullen eyes fall sharp
like a half rest
through his mother’s
but not for any more love notes.
Review Me, Please
While you're here, check out some of my other poems:
- The Old Shows
- Two Poems: Battlefield Confession & Life
- Love and War
- Breakfast Talk
- We All Sing America Now
- Nocturne: Battlefield Sonnet
- 20 Acres
- The Journeymaker's First and Last Hope
- Old Goth
The backside 5 (my five latest posts):
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- Old Shows, New Shows: Miss Evelyn's First Movie Experience
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