War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

for you at the shura (3rd draft)

for AK, السلام عليكم (peace be upon you)

my pen has drunk from knowledge

Golden, soldier, Asaleem ‘Alaykum,
helmet off, frag vest on, cross-legged
you sit on rose petals, Persia’s carpets,
beside terps, behind elders, your OC—
the outer ring of a stone dropped in a wadi.
Cups of steaming mint tea, scooped qabuli.
Moons of naan torn and eaten with gun hands.
Cigarillos passed, orbit Afghanistan.
Speak Pashto softly. Soft knock the circle,
your third tour of this broken, beautiful land.
26 year old, MCpl. A man. Full. Though
innocent wisdom comes, goes. Like black storks,
through drought, boredom, adrenelin, the metal rain,
Kohl-eyed angels of burka, the shalwar kameez,
watch over you in the desert again. I know.

3 Comments (Closed)

Alex VanderWoude

I really like this, but I cannot tell you exactly why. It seems to evoke images and feelings in me, so I guess the poem is achieving its intent.

Dang, that sounds really bloodless and analytical, doesn’t it? I suppose that’s why I write software rather than poetry.

Oct 01 2009 · 14:10


thanks Alex, there is art in well-designed software too. f.y.i., For You at the Shura and So Beautiful will be published in the November issue of On Site Journal. So Beautiful was just published in the Western Sentinel rather movingly, beneath the photos and stories of two of our most recently lost soldiers. poignant.

Oct 01 2009 · 21:11

Alex VanderWoude

You are most gracious. I must admit, there have been times where I’ve looked at some code I have written and given myself a mental pat on the back. But most of the time I feel disappointed when I look at work I have done — it’s sufficient, but not elegant. And sometimes it’s downright embarrassing.

I looked at your piece in the Western Sentinel. I remember that one, you posted it here a while back. Do you find that soldiers appreciate your ability to sling the lingo, and incorporate it into art? It seems to me that it would make it more real, in that you really get it, what with actually having bounced around inside an LAV (is it “lav” or “ell eh vee”?) and all.

Oct 01 2009 · 21:52

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled for you at the shura (3rd draft). It was posted here on September 28, 2009.


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