Tricolour of War

Tricolour of War
(For the Irish who fought in wars)

By the fire of my living room, I
turn on the TV to RTE’s
ninetieth anniversary of
the Armistice of World War I.

Three hundred and fifty thousand of
Irish men bravely fought not knowing
that thirty thousand would not return.
My uncomforting chair sucked into

trenches of dank mud, ghost white soldiers
ensconced in pro-logic sounds of death –
rat-tat-tat of machine gun fire and
drones of propellers like bumblebees

swatting overhead. A shouted
command urges frightened faces to
fight. You run past me not noticing
the cold fire in my room now nothing

but a light. This cannot echo the
fires You experienced – the raging
torment of gods of war, gods of death
and much more. Young men fight far away

from family and friends who don’t know
if this war will ever end. They wait
in hope for safe return but see their
sons framed as lonely silhouettes.

My ignorant hand slaps the TV
to rid the jaundiced interference –
Your interference, not mine. Frozen,
I see young men die in front of

my eyes – harrowing for me, but for
You – I can’t envisage the pain You
felt, when Your friends dropped dead right
at Your feet as you can’t pause or find

that button to mute or rewind. But
Your life will be forever etched in
history. My memories of this war
are always seen in black, white and red.

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