[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
I Love The World

The roll of distant thunder breaks, the afternoon of silence wakes
They hurry through from Petergate as if they know this dance
In fury blind, I drive at night across the moors, the open roads
Beneath the freezing starry skies, racing in some trance
These cities are illusions of some triumph over Nature's laws
We've seen the iron carcass rust and buildings topple into dust
And as the waters rise, it seems we cling to all the rootless things
The Christian lies, technology, while spirits scream and sing
Oh God I love the world

Well I never said I was a clever man but I know enough to understand
That the endless leaps and forward plans will someday have to cease
You blind yourselves with comfort lies like lightning never strikes you twice
And we laugh at your amazed surprise as the Ark begins to sink
This temple that is built so well to separate us from ourselves
Is a power grown beyond control, a will without a face
And watching from outside I wish that I could wash my hands of this
But we are locked together here, this bittersweet embrace
Oh God I love the world

And if one day the final fire explodes across the whitened sky
I know you've said you'd rather die and make it over fast
With courage from your bravest friends, waiting outside for the end
With no bitterness but an innocence that I can't seem to grasp
I know somehow I will survive - this fury just to stay alive
So drunk with sickness, weak with pain, I can walk the hills one last time
Scarred and smiling, dying slow, I'll scream to no one left at all
I told you so, I told you so, I told you so . .
Oh God I love the world

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
See You In Hell

As we touched down on the tarmac, they strode out to greet us
It was under a blue snake-skin sky
With a handshake of welcome, they set their agenda
With their smiles never touching their eyes
We've been here before on the edge of a promise
Surrender is all that remains
But we'll see them in hell, we'll see them in hell
We'll see them in hell before then

You made me a coward - I can't stand what I've become
What I most of all regret is not what I did
But all the things that I left undone
Like nobody learns, and nothing is changed
You ask me to follow again
But I'll see you in hell, see you in hell
I'll see you in hell before then

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com


Waiting in the setting sun at the end of the road
The armies have moved away like the fading gold
I stand sentry by the rusting gate but no one comes
Nothing moves this way in the valley of stone
The evening shadows steal across the hills
And only the seasons change, only the seasons change

I've seen so much more than I wanted to see
The flies all swarming round in the blistering heat
Layer upon layer here of the same old curse
The red blood draining down into the blood red earth
In the end we all tell these stories just the same
And only the names are changed, only the names are changed

The empires rising, falling like the seas
Their voices are just the whispers in the trees
I lock the chain upon the gate for the end of the day
I clean the gun that I'll never use and lay it away
As the stars spread like splinters of the sun
And only the seasons change, only the seasons change

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Over The Wire

Behind all the rusting cranes, in the lengthening shadows of the Empire days
there's a world that waits, but it's not needed.
In the teeming rows behind the goal - yelling for blood on the pitch below;
where does all the passion go when it's not needed?
Over the wire, and into the darkness . . .

Come evangelists of the Grand New Age proclaiming the future that they stole,
condemning the things they can't control - just like the priests before;
and now I can hear them call - the ghosts of the 1914-18 war
Where do all the innocents go when they're not needed?
Over the wire and into the darkness . . .

And the dawn it will come like blood across the sky,
Not the way that you think, not the way that you dream
In the silence of God, in the fullness of time,
like blood across the sky - the dawn it will come - the dawn it will come.

All still, like the pitshafts and the two-mile-down where they buried their hearts;
where does all the loyalty go when it's not needed?
In the plastic seats behind the goal yelling for blood on the pitch below;
where does all the passion go when it's not needed?
Over the wire and into the darkness . . .

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

The Charge

Our history speaks in thunder from a thousand village halls
In blood and sweat and sacrifice, in honouring every call
So the forces gathered against the thorn a-piercing in their side
A brave new world is beckoning so the olden world must die.

In the offices of the city, at all the tables of oak and power
The snares are laid and baited for the approaching of the hour
A hundred justifications and the presses are ready to roll
The gateways to the nation they are firmly under control

On, on, on, cried the leaders at the back
We went galloping down the blackened hills
And into the gaping trap
The bridges are burnt behind us and there's waiting guns ahead
Into the valley of death rode the brave hundreds

We called for some assistance from the friends that we had known
But this is the 1980s and we were on our own
We never felt like heroes or martyrs to a cause
Just battle-weary soldiers in a bloody civil war

The massacre now is over and the order new enshrined
While a quarter of the nation are abandoned far behind
Their leaders offer the cliche words, so righteous in defeat
But no one needs morality when there isn't enough to eat

The unity bond is broken and the loyalty songs are fake
I'll screw my only brother for even a glimpse at a piece of the cake
We only cry in private here behind the shuttered glass
When we think of the charge of this brigade, the severing of the past

On, on, on, cried the leaders at the back
We went galloping down the blackened hills
And into the gaping trap
The bridges are burnt behind us and there's waiting guns ahead
Into the valley of death rode the brave hundreds

by Justin Sullivan


On July 8, 2003, [livejournal.com profile] jhaelan posted the first poem to this community, 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Happy Tenth Anniversary to all the members and fans of [livejournal.com profile] war_poetry.

[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com


It was summer when they finally came, the law of force
and line upon line of machine upon machine, back into the greenwood,
closer to the heart of things we go - beneath the wires stretched against the sky,
spitting out in desperation - stop the killing . . .

The wind blows down from St George's Hill through to Stanworth Woods,
and to the East, on this grey and pallid dawn the lights from the rigs
blinking out across the poisoned sea, a little group of ships floating out to meet the coming storm
sailing on in desperation - stop the killing . . .

Raised and bound upon the land, and the everlasting whispers in diamond
through the trees, in the breath of Eden
Innocent still the faith we hold - our time will come . . .

That which walks the corridors of power is a virus that mutates;
immune to all resistance, and every turn of history
And all that's left for us is marking crosses upon doors,
and scrawling in the golden sand before each tide comes rolling in;
screaming out in desperation - stop the killing . . .

Holding on, and out, forever . . .

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Spirit of the Falklands

The natives are restless tonight, sir
Cooped up on estates with no hope in sight
They need some kind of distraction
We can give them that
'Cause they'd die if they only had something to die for
They'd kill if they only had something to kill for
They'd cheer if they only had something to cheer for
We can give them that
So it's off to war we go (I couldn't believe it)
Bring out all the flags (I never believed it)
Fight the good fight

It's working like a dream, sir
Half the nation are hooked on the bait
Waiting for the next victorious installment
We can give them that
'Cause it's no surprise that young men are heroes
It's no surprise that young men are strong
It's no surprise that young men are foolish
We've known that all along
Exciting pictures on News at Ten (I couldn't believe it)
Read all the crap on all the front pages (I never believed it)
Fight the good fight

Dead men in the South Atlantic
It's meant to warm our hearts
They think that they died for you and me
Oh God, what a farce, what a farce

And now it's the repeats
Plugging the Falklands and the Falklands' spirit
Show the pictures again and again
Till the next war comes around
'Cause we'll kill if we only have something to kill for
We'll die if we only have something to die for
We'll cheer if we only have something to cheer for
That is worthy of the name
Oh yes the next war (I never believed it)
See the propaganda in TV fiction (I never believed it)
Enemies with horns and tails

There are dead men in the South Atlantic
It's meant to warm our hearts
They think that they died for you and me
Oh God, what a farce, what a farce
There's crippled men back home in England
Doesn't it warm your hearts
They think they fought for peace and freedom
Poor boys, what a farce, what a farce

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com


Escaped the net in '45, hiding out in South America
Protected by money and powerful friends
Hoping the world has forgotten by now
All the things that you did in the Nazi Death camps
The people that you tortured and killed
You can live you life in expectant fear
Sure some day you'll be made to pay

Man walks over dressed in flashy clothes
With an empty heart and a head full of money
Puts his arm around the lad of fifteen years
Talks sort of close like a long-lost brother
"It's really cool, all the pop stars do
If you don't try a little you'd really be a fool
Tell you what I'll do, I'll make the first one free
And when you want some more just come back to me"

Loading up the barrels at the warehouse gates
Men in overalls on double rates
Put the stuff in the river and away for a beer
Don't worry too much, they don't live around here
And the poison seeps into every pore
Every child's eyes, every innocent's sore
Everybody knows behind the closed doors
Kick down the doors, kick down the doors

Top-dog fascist gets the boys in the corner
Plants poison where there was just confusion
Walks away scot-free and laughing
Rides on the tide as the cancer grows
And the business man on corruption charges
With millions of dollars in dirty money
Gets a thousand pound fine after months in court
While the lawyers get fat and the law gets bought

I believe in justice
I believe in vengeance
I believe in getting the bastard

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Red Earth

The rock is made of diamond, the rivers wash with gold
The sun beats down in rhythm, pounding on our reason
Pounding on our reason, ringing in our skulls

Sometimes this land looks empty - it plays so many tricks on you
The soil of dried blood - sown with seed of people
Overrun with armies - that grow out of the earth
They flow down from the mountains, spring out of the ground

The shacks they all have numbers, the dirt tracks run in straight lines
Vanity and uselessness, the minds of prison guards

Praying on a Sunday, dressed up in our finest
Any god is welcome, any god that will come
To give back what was taken, take back what was given
Blood and death and sacrifice, the curse of wasting plague
And all the beauty tainted and east of Eden cast

Children walking barefoot in the golden dust
Boys with blinding eyes, perfect skin and Bible names
Machetes and AKs, perfect skin and Bible names
Machetes and AKs, perfect skin and Bible names
Take back what was taken, take back what was taken
Take back what was taken, machetes and AKs

All the waiting, all the walking all the miles
All the working in the fields and in the mines
In the orchards of the rulers
Bring us cure, bring us deliverance from evil
From all the sins of all the fathers
Bring us water, bring us vengeance, bring us power
Catch a sound in the dead of the night
The clicked triggers of security lights
By the pool where the shadows stir, silent, silent
Through the scented garden moving in
By the waving of the skeletal trees, closer and closer
Through the doors and through the walls and...

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Paekakariki Beach

I saw you walking away from the battlefield
Through the clearing smoke to the other side
Lay down your weary head
And gazing up two ocean birds are wheeling, turning
Paekakariki Beach on the other side
By the green of the hills and the rolling tide
I lay down in the ashen sand
And high above the ocean birds
were wheeling, turning, circling, flying

And you have seen too much
Too many causes lost and won
The wild desires all drowned in the seven seas
And so we walk away from the battlefield
Through the clearing smoke to the other side
Lay down in the morning sun
and high above the ocean birds are
wheeling, turning, circling, flying...

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com


The rains move in eastwards, in waves of succession
Drawing lines of grey across the sky
With history just as close as a hand on the shoulder
In hunger and impatience we cry
The battle against corruption rages in each corner
There must be something better, something pure
And the call it is answered from the caves to the cities
Come the dealers of Salvation on Earth
We've seen the restless children at the head of the columns
Come to purify the future with the arrogance of youth
Nothing is as cruel as the righteousness of innocents
With automatic weapons and a gospel of the truth

Revolution for ever, succession of the seasons
Within the blood of Nature, all raised to rot and die
This purity is a lie

Now immaculate conception in sterilised laboratories
How the vanity goes on
Or in the message of the preacher with his morals and obsessions
The wars that we wage upon ourselves
Purity is a virtue, purity is an angel
Purity is for madmen to make fools of us all
So forgive yourself my friend, all this will soon be over
What happened here tonight is nothing at all

Revolution for ever, succession of the seasons
Within the blood of Nature, all raised to rot and die
This purity is a lie

I will always see Brendan at that broken down piano
His fingers thick and red, shaking on the keys
Battered by the years of alcohol and working
Still playing with the faith that never leaves
So sit us down, buy us a drink, tell us a good story
Sing us a song we know to be true
I don't give a damn that I never will be worthy
Fear is the only enemy that I still know

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

The Attack

Now the talking's over, plans are laid and the hour is set
Glances round the table, eyes all shining, dark and bright
We meet again at daybreak for the day that will be ours
We're tomorrow's history
So just check your weapons, say your prayers.
Now the evening's over, voices muffled in the cold night mist
We leave the house together, home to rest up in the last few hours
Heads against the pillows with eyes that will not close
Of all the dreams that we've ever had
This is the one, this is the one

Now the night is over - dawn cracks open like a breaking shell
Now the waiting's over - as we walk in silence through the empty streets
We meet beneath the tower, greetings empty like the taste inside
Turn towards the valley and the day that has waited for us all our lives
Even in this age of concrete, even in this age of reason
There comes a time when you put your life
Into the hands of the gods.

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Gigabyte Wars

Well, you never grow up, you just get older, carrying
all the familiar burdens with you, walking back on
the hometown streets on a night devoid of stars.
No one ever said it was going to be just, you really
ought to know by now how She's all red in tooth and claw;
after all, weren't you the one screaming for more?

In the gigabyte wars - round and round we go,
beneath the vapour trails - tangled up inside in a web of lies,
hostages of fortune and savage tales.

Well, you entered stage in blood and pain, gulped for air
and then you cried out - this is just the way it comes;
that's Stupid Questions again . . .
It's not the things that you fear that come to get you,
But all the things you don't expect, face down in a
drowning pool of unfulfilled desire, in the gigabyte wars . . .

Then comes the rain - just seems to make the night grow hotter,
we listen to the drops as they clatter on the roofs of the cars;
sometimes it seems like you're going to suffocate in this
conspiracy of noise - but though the ties they stretch to break-point,
still they hold, still they hold, and blood runs still in crimson streams
and dries like the earth - but still they hold.

In the gigabyte wars, once we were lost, then we were found;
once we were found - then we were lost again.
Get real, if a real exists - there's nothing more than this,
Strung out on nothingness . . .

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

The Cause

Headline in the paper tells of fighting in the streets
Teenage battles; six arrested
Mutters in the council chambers, something must be done
Before our city streets become infested
And mummy turns to daddy says "where was our little boy that day
Why can't he just stay at home and watch the silver screen"

All we wanted was a cause that we could fight for
One chance for the heroes to win the day
All we wanted was a chance to see the world
In black and white instead of a hundred shades of grey

Watch the raving maniacs go carving up the night
See the barmy smiles on their faces
See the crazy bombers going cross their deadly wires
Blow themselves into a million pieces
The bands play it hard and fast go ripping through their sets
Adrenaline going flowing drink and no regrets
What do we tell our grandchildren
When they ask us about the good old days
Boring empty daytime jobs and frozen up inside
Do you not remember what your daddy told you long ago
God, how those old men used to fight

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com
Written up high on a Belgrade wall in 1991
I saw the words of a prophet in a ten-foot scrawl
Arm yourselves and run

Now the streets are quiet for the closing deals
And the Fimbulwinter days to come
And the beats all sound like the hammering of steel
Arm yourselves and run

You can watch revolutionaries/jihadists come
You can watch them fall
Year zero for another age as another age is born
Each fire must rise and rage
Until it burns itself to ashes in the dawn
In the cold smouldering dawn

So I remember the words on a Belgrade wall from 1991
Some backstreet prophet in a ten-foot scrawl
Arm yourselves and run

by Justin Sullivan

[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com


Across the land the air is still
The leaves are falling golden one by one
Like the paper money falls
Or the soldiers stealing homeward
There is only beginning
And there is beginning of the end
All the peoples are moving
Like the waters of a great flood

And everything is beautiful
Because everything is dying

So we went down to the beach
And built a fire to remember
We took the last bottle of wine
And drank a toast to mortality
And we scrawled across the cold wet sand
With our bare feet We Told You So'
And watched the waves steal it away
I caught you smile and I heard you say

Everything is beautiful
Because everything is dying

So who wants to live forever
When these moments will only come the once?
Staring into the embers of the fire...

And everything is beautiful
Only because everything is dying.

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Modern Times

It seems strange to write about these things now
but the time has probably come when we should
accept whatever is past and gone and never will return.
Looking back to the beginning
I see a flood of painful memories
and the bitter hurt and wounded pride that comes with our defeat
We set out with our heads held high,
so sure our ground, our righteousness,
the new Jerusalem to be built with love and guts and truth
But in the end we surrendered easily.
It's no use pretending otherwise . . .
well most of us had a little something to lose, enough to break our nerve.

Well, some of us made an easy peace and moved into the Brave New World;
it's hard for the true believers to look back now and realise
that for many of the crowd it was just the fashion, the cause of the moment,
well we if anyone should know that you can look pretty dumb
standing in last year's clothes.
And some of us, shell-shocked still, ran for shelter and do the rituals
the same old way pretending that someone out there cares
And some of us live in the modern world.
We give unto Caesar what is due
and harbour the bitterness of defeat and daydreams of revenge.

Now nothing you see out there is real,
It matters not what you believe in.
It matters less what you say but only what you are.
It matters what you are. It matters what you are.

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com


There are boxes packed with bullets, there are crates all stacked with boxes
There are uniforms and hardware, there are meals all wrapped in plastic
Through the night the ships are loading, every night these ships are loading
Beneath the glare of the burning floodlights and the dancing of the swarmed mosquitoes

And into the fire and the blood red sun the old and rich still send the young men
Into a world of twisted steel and the acrid smell of metal burning
And on the streets of hometown now, we watch each other as if we're strangers
But say it loud, scream it loud: I am not at war

He says: this body I have been given shall be returned unto its maker
Beneath my clothes these secrets hidden, the sacrifice that I have to offer
By the checkpoint there are soldiers and the cypress branches waving
And the light is hard as glass and the sky is blue and cool and waiting

These stupid empty words could all be written on the cold pale skin
Of the dead laid out in shallow graves along the road of bombed out palm trees

And in the corners of the bars and cafes, in every town, in every nation
There are these blood-sports on the TVs and the loaded toneless voices
There are cameras by the gravesides and in the executioners' chambers
There are cameras high above us to guide the missiles down from the heavens

And into the fire and the blood red sun the old and rich still send the young men
Into a world of twisted steel and the acrid smell of oil burning
And on the streets of hometown now, we watch each other just like strangers
But say it loud, scream it loud: I am not at war

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Christian Militia

There's a witch hunt coming, screaming out on its rebirth
There's a crusade coming, Hellfire's back here on earth
See the light in their eyes shine, listen to their words like swords
The Christian militia is marching now
There's a witch hunt coming, born out of all the American fears
There's a new purge coming, an Inquisition for all of us here
Hold onto your sanity as best you can
While some Hitler claims to speak for the Son of Man
The Christian militia is marching now

Hatred makes the adrenaline flow
Stir up the fire, watch it grow
Everybody loves a righteous cause
Old lives forgotten in holy wars
Everything forgotten in holy wars

There's a nightmare coming, shut up your doors, close your mind
There's a nightmare coming - Born Again, born again blind
The girls show the way, then show us their legs
With American showbiz razzmatazz
With sex in one hand and a gun in the other, Christ returns
The right-wing respectable clampdown clan
Find their figurehead in a holy man;
Here come the Christians, an hysterical mob
Worshipping the Devil in the name of God
Worshipping the Devil in the name of God

by Justin Sullivan


[identity profile] duathir.livejournal.com

Flying Through The Smoke

Red dots - close my eyes - tunnel vision
the cooling towers like Cathedrals
Pitch black dark, brighter than the sun
Less than zero, more than infinity
Forever the graphics curling on the screen
Forever the numbers counting on and on
Flying through the smoke, flying through the smoke

See the body of people move across the floor
Dancing turning wheeling in the spinning lights
I remember the music and the noise so loud
All I could see was you moving your mouth
Tell me what was it you were trying to say
Tell me what was it you were trying to say
And all the time everything was moving away
like a slo-mo shot as the camera pulls across the crowd
across the faces caught in the last few seconds of life
And you - like a ghost at the feast
your eyes so small and dark and dead - you were uninvited
And me - trying to remember how nobody saw you
sitting next to me on the bus as it turned into Mainstreet
and the bomb in the bag at your feet
What was it you were trying to say
Tell me what was it you were trying to say
Flying through the smoke in a deafening roar
Screaming in the panic as the whirlwind hits
Tell me what was it you were trying to say
Too late to listen now

by Justin Sullivan



War Poetry

January 2017

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