War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

soldier's words

I could not, I should not ever speak for the soldier. that’s why I invite Canadian soldiers to send me their work and I’ll post it, anonymously if they wish.

I am getting an incredible response from both the public and the military, including American and British. there is an appetite for war words. an appetite for the conversation, especially as the post-war generation steps aside for the next. the older generation mystified that the younger would purposefully embrace this idea of “call”, mystified that I would want to witness this.

I am approached/emailed/contacted by so many who want to talk, to vent, to editorialize, to comment. this is all good. I wish I had time to respond, and sometimes I do. but mostly I don’t. mostly, it steals time, thought, from my task at hand.

but what I can do is post little things for people to mull over. to debate, discuss…

and here’s something. an interview with the poet Brian Turner, an ex-U.S. infantryman who served in Iraq. check out his book, Here Bullet, a major influence for me. check out some of his poetry online at the Virginia Quarterly… his VA Confessional will open the door for you to wander the corridors of PTSD better than any psychology text ever could…

and Nov. 11th, I thought not only of the dead and those left behind, but of the hundreds, maybe thousands of soldiers, including many, many of our official peacekeepers, who are walking the streets of Canada, going to work, raising families, trying to live with the “living death” of memory as my correspondent Hebridean so aptly described it…

and at our little cenotaph in our tiny community, when I turned to one of our councilors and suggested the cenotaph plaque be changed to add Afghanistan… to WWI, WWII, Korea, because our village lost a young bombadier a few years back, she whispered back to me, “but this war’s not over.” sobering

so here’s the Brian Turner interview, I won’t say enjoy, that’s not apropos just as when I’m asked, “are you having fun,” with this work, I have to say it’s not a question of fun… anyway, read what Brian has to say and make up your own mind…

Brian Turner Virginia Quarterly Interview

but I have to add that I promise at some later date to try and write something about the humour of soldiers… because for every lousy bit of their war work, there are probably at least 100 + funny things and the one thing soldiers really like to do is to laugh…

1 Comment (Closed)


About soldiers laughing: then-Prime Minister Lester Pearson gave this answer, I think, to someone who asked what made Canadians different.

He was visiting the huge encampment of Allied military gathering for D-Day. As his was driven through the giant grounds, he could hear the different sounds, smell the cooking, of the various world armies. After some time, he heard a change in sounds: laughter—and realized he had finally come to the Canucks.

Nov 16 2008 · 08:18

About This Page

The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled soldier's words. It was posted here on November 13, 2008.


Complete diary archive