Tag Archives: war

NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 30 – When You Describe War


When you describe war, death
– words cannot make it.
Tears spring forth
from the soul’s source,
falling in the heart’s chasm.

Spasms of pain
course through your limbs,
lacerating a young smile
– shocking, continuous story
of a split country.

When you describe war, death
– your gaze falls
on the blank page.
Bombed by thoughts
– words die
in the eyes of humanity.

[Original Italian by Grażyna Miller (1957-2009)]



San Martino del Carso

Of these houses
nothing left
but some
shred of wall

Of many
who wrote back
nothing left
nothing at all

But no cross is missing
in my heart

The country most in mourning
is my heart
Dulce et Decorum Est

Piegati in due, mendicanti sotto stracci
Ginocchia nodose, tosse di strega, nella melma bestemmiando
Fino al volgere delle schiene agli spettrali razzi
E verso il lontano riposo ci incamminammo.
Uomini marciano nel sonno. Molti a stivali rotti
Ma sanguinolenti tentennano avanti, mutilati, cecati
Ebbri di stanchezza, sordi anche ai botti
Di stanchi, sfiniti bossoli dietro a loro lanciati.

Gas! Gas! Presto, ragazzi! — Frenesia d’armeggiare,
Sistemando appena in tempo gli elmetti;
Ma ancora fuori si sentono urla e l’inciampare
di chi annaspa, come di fiamme infetti.

Fioco, tra vetri offuscati e densa verde luce
Come sotto un verde mare, lo vidi affogare.

In ogni mio sogno, la mia vista debole lo conduce
a lanciarmisi contro, sempre a soffrire, sempre ad affogare.

Se in sogni soffocanti anche voi poteste marciare
Dietro al carro su cui lo avevamo caricato ,
E vederne degli occhi bianchi nel viso l’agitare,
Quel viso spento, come un diavolo stanco del peccato;
Se poteste dai polmoni schiumanti gorgogliare
Sentire, ad ogni scossa, il sangue
osceno come un cancro, acre come lo scoppiare
Di orrende, incurabili piaghe su innocenti lingue,—
Amici miei, non saltereste dall’ovest all’est
A raccontare a giovani in preda a disperati ardori
L’antica bugia: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Part I is here.

The Unwritten: Apocalypse #3



Tom discovers just how quickly the world is dissolving into chaos – and why. But where in all this fractured, insane landscape will he find an ally, and what price will he have to pay? The answer lies in the Divadlo Trinka puppet theatre of Prague, and in the old cliché: “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.“

Two issues down, third one up. The Unwritten continues in its exploration of what happens when the collective body of fiction dies, and crashes slap bang into reality — all the fictions, in the whole of reality. The Unwritten: Apocalypse #3 marks the second part of ‘War Stories’, and plays around stories in a nice twist. (NOTE: The synopsis makes no sense, actually. The second part is probably what the next issue will focus on, and that would seem appropriate to further solicits. In fact, the covers seem switched, too.)
The crux of the story is the creation (or destruction) of something linked to Leviathan, and Leviathan itself. And yet how the story gets to it, recalling elements seeded in very early issues of the series, playing with literary tropes, myths, genres and fictions is really quite impressive. The use of French for Cosi and Leon was smile-inducing, as it’s nice to see their linguistic ground come through when faced with immediate reactions to happenings around them.
Carey does like to show his literature and music knowledge in the section titles, picking titles of Wilfred Owen poems, a good number of which included in Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. Just because apparently we did not have enough going on with just sci-fi fighting-machines, Elizabethan armies, zombie nazis and fantasy knights.

Peter Gross really shows some of those skills flaunted in issue one of this run, with finishes by Ryan Kelly for most pages. Especially from the point of ‘The Next War’ section, the splash pages and double spreads are really something to behold. Both him and Carey have written so much in these scenes that it’s impressive he can keep everything under control, but check with previous pages and you can see some of the same characters crop up. And all of that is going on while Danny fights with his own mazed dream-state in the woods, with some dazzling panelwork.
Colours go back to Chris Chuckry alone, and is brilliantly paired with the tone of the particular scene at hand in the story. A prevalence of earthy, red hues in the war scenes, darker tones for the forest, and some seriously creepy colours for the more supernatural (if we can say so) elements/characters. Todd Klein pleasantly delivers some excellent lettering for soundwords with different genre elements, from ray guns to tanks, arrows and fisticufss. And there’s a particularly excellent ‘blaaam’.
Yuko Shimizu’s cover, as it aligns with the synopsis, does not do its usual story capsule in an image – but is still a gorgeous piece of artwork, featuring Madame Rausch. Limbs, branches, skin and bark all echoing each other, as snakes rise from the base of the tree, on a blood-red background.

Thoughts (May Contain Spoilers)
Imagine a war just outside your window. Imagine that everyone around you is imagining their own version of that assignment. Now take all of those, and make them happen at the same time, in the space. That is the premise of War Stories. And the reason? We find out in ‘Strange Meeting’. War poetry can be executed fairly badly in popular culture, but the section titles actually work, and show their influence on the text and the reality of The Unwritten; the framework set up last month still holds really well, too, with fictional armies clashing, and the purpose is finally revealed. I continue to be impressed by the work going into this book, and so far (synopsis excluded) it has not disappointed.

The Unwritten: Apocalypse #3 is now available in shops and digitally here.



Because it’s 2014, because I loathe the rhetoric building up again in the UK (and beyond), because I cannot believe some people can be so devious and twisted, because Kitchener was chosen for coins.

San Martino del Carso

Di queste case
non è rimasto
che qualche
brandello di muro

Di tanti
che mi corrispondevano
non è rimasto
neppure tanto

Ma nel cuore
nessuna croce manca

E’ il mio cuore
il paese più straziato

(G. Ungaretti – 1916)

Perché è il 2014, e in parti d’Europa si iniziano a ‘celebrare’ i 100 anni dell’inizio della prima guerra mondiale. Perché c’è una retorica in Europa che mette i brividi. Perché non si dimentichi.

Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

(W. Owen – 1917)