Philip Fried

War Poems
August 19, 2022 Fried Philip

War’s Metallic Pastoral


Mangled tanks at rest on the roadway’s shoulder.
War, in a hurry, could find no tactical reason
for tending cannon that pointed skyward, askew
(no targets now but a bird or two). Besides,
he had errands down the road in another town.


Bicycle lying abandoned near the hay barn,
handlebars twisted, but still would be rideable
if a local adult or child (but who) could rescue
its clean lines from the dust (anyone),
while the owner’s now peddling past the Milky Way.


And the shepherd’s decamped who reflected, War can breed
a reckless whimsy that doesn’t bode well for the flock
now the invaders have named their howitzer units
for the flowers of their country, shells like petals
falling from Peony, Hyacinth, Acacia.


War’s Misunderstood


Ignore his laudatory recommendations
from Patton, Napoleon, Alexander the Great,
and his mastery of cutting edge technology
facilitating the pinpoint precision of missiles,
the skillful subversion of dams and electrical grids …


War is at heart a curious, clumsy child,
not lacking in goodwill. His aim: to embrace
others, getting to know them intimately
and quickly, sometimes at supersonic speeds,
in order to foster friendship and lasting peace.


But evidence of his unsuccess and frustration
abounds, because his eagerness was unwelcome
and misunderstood by these bodies growing cold,
and these smashed walls where he attempted to enter
family life reveal the debris of resentment.


Philip Fried has published eight volumes of poetry, most recently Among the Gliesians (Salmon Poetry, Ireland, 2020). His poems have appeared in many journals and in more than 20 anthologies. Carol Rumens included his poem “Yoga for Leaders and Others” in her anthology Smart Devices: 52 Poems from The Guardian’s ‘Poem of the Week.’