Poem | Indran Amirthanayagam

Artwork : W. Jack Savage

The Just War

Let us end these border disputes,
war histories, taught in school books,
passed from father to son, mother
to daughter, gender irrelevant;

move the argument forward
and stop the eternal feeding
of hurt and retribution.
Writers from the guild, friends

across the divide, are saying:
calm the temperature, trade
needs stability, common wealth
is the question, and saving ice caps

from melting, and offering light
and heat to our peoples without
destroying rivers and trees.
Let us start with humor

then, joking, this meditation
on their flag imposed
on another flag
from the continent, to bother

and insult; let us remember
how we enjoy the poetry
of the other, share the fruits
of the Humboldt Current,

how anchovies fall
into our nets, and
our cuisine is celebrated
in the other’s capital.

Let us move beyond
Infinite repetitions of
war heroes and national
days and talk of ties that bind,

common sea and air,
mountains, not the territorial
ambitions of ancestors:
one planet these days

heating to boiling. Let us bury
the sunken fleet into history
and cross the border, eat sea bass
and parrot fish in Santiago, sip

from Vallejo’s chalice, the green
notebooks of his friend Neruda,
remembering what bring us still
to battlefields of Catalonia and Granada.

Indran Amirthanayagam, November 25, 2012

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