POETRY FORMAT, 25 May 2020

Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

U.S. Memorial Day 2020:


Side pitted against other!
Human against human!
Arms against arms!
Belief against belief!
Life, lives, time, … lost!


Conscience, reason, thought,
Victim to purpose, intent, goal!
Waves . . .
Emotion, illusion, delusion!


Common purpose!
Shared pride!


“We came, we saw, we conquered.”
“For God, country, . . . you know!
“Might makes right!”


Glorified by winners!
Shattered minds, broken bodies, torn hearts,
Now heroes.
Medals, parades, promotions.
God is on our side!


Past re-written!
History revised!
“We had reasons”
“To the winner belongs the spoils!”


What are spoils?
Land, goods . . . more!
Wealth, power, position,
 “Look on my works, ye mighty and despair!  
Lines remembered, but not poem!


Loser’s restrained!
Praise, gratitude, excuses seen as boasts!
Boasts for what?


Comfort found in shared grief.
Tears ok!
Sobs better!
Body weak,
Revenge remains,
n heart and mind!


History re-written,
Not forgotten!
Myths survive!
We-ness denied!
Retrospect: “If only . . .”
Lifetime memories!
None shared, except with others who were there!
No one else understands,
What we did . . . !
Brain tattoos.


No one wins in war!
Except those . . .
Who caused it,
Planned it,
Mapped it,
With pens, pencils, markers,
Grins, smiles, satisfaction!


No one wins in war!
Except those . . .
Who live for it,
Finding in war,
Opportunity for fame, legacy,

Except those . . .
Finding in war:
Identity, meaning, purpose, certainty.
Essentials denied societies
Caught in ennui, tedium, failure;
Those reveling in anger, violence, rage,
Seeking revenge against life!


Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D., a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Emeritus Professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa Campus in Honolulu, Hawaii, and past director of the World Health Organization Psychiatric Research Center in Honolulu.  He is known internationally as a pioneer figure in the study of culture and psychopathology who challenged the ethnocentrism and racial biases of many assumptions, theories, and practices in psychology and psychiatry. In more recent years, he has been writing and lecturing on peace and social justice. He has published 21 books and more than 300 articles, tech reports, and popular commentaries. His TMS articles may be accessed HERE and he can be reached at marsella@hawaii.edu.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 May 2020.

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One Response to “WAR!”

  1. Gary Steven Corseri says:

    The stanzas here are shaped like stakes…and the words drive the stakes into our minds and hearts. Each time the stake is struck, we hear the reverberating sound of “War!”

    The last stanza offers a little more space to reflect upon our losses–the bitter fruits reaped with our insane blood-lusting, blood-thrusting.

    It’s a perfect poem for this “Memorial Day,” and for any day we can pause and reflect on this pathetic human race of
    lost “Identity, meaning, purpose, certainty”…. “Caught in ennui, tedium, failure….” “Seeking revenge against life!”