Wednesday 30 October 2013

Write..Edit..Publish...Getting there....but probably in the wrong costume.....

Hi everyone,
Hope you are having a great autumn/spring!  I had my Halloween post all mapped out neat in my head when I signed up, but then this whole month's been beyond hectic so I never got around to actually putting it down.  Now I’m probably at the party in the wrong costume!  :)

Anyways, I got sent the famous poem, this one here which does the rounds every year about this time, and reading it again prompted a couple of my own.  I am sharing them here because well, Halloween also coincides with the El Alamein battle.  October/November is always a vaguely poignant time.

Happy Halloween, Happy Autumn/Spring, and Happy Diwali, whatever you are celebrating! Take your pick of lanterns and lamps, and party!
Here's my take on

Maybe they still blow, vivid symbols; did he
mean the quarrel to be endless? Does the poppy
only rain blows and mustn’t bloom? Nothing’s seen
between the lines here, except clean
headstones, different wars, same end, same cemetery.
A strange knot in the guts, haunting futility
in gaunt sky and earth, twisting tortured sea;
is anyone an adult at eighteen?
Things talked over, twiddled hypocrisy
morphs the same conflicts, the inequality,
the son-like forefathers, the graveyard scene.
No poppies bloom in El Alamein
no screens between the stones and me.
It’s not the multitudes. It’s the years
carved on headstones, many a mere
eighteen apart, and some blank, unknown.
Some faraway mother’s Jhandu or John
lying unmarked in the desert here.
Did they still think that they could hear
the dead son’s voice - that he was near -
coming awake from a dream at dawn?
It’s not the multitudes.
Did they tend to forget and still clear
a place, laid meals sometimes, and then veer
back into the truth, sigh and move on?
Now decades ago, the mothers too are gone
to join their sons at the last frontier.
It’s not the multitudes.
W.C - approx 200, definitely less than 1000 :)
All feedback welcome.
Read the other entries over at Write...Edit....Publish. 


  1. Poignant and hauntingly sad. Oh the futility of war!

  2. A cool poem. I liked it Nila.


  3. Heartbreaking and vivid. That "It's not the multitudes" is haunting.

  4. It's quite a coincidence that you posted this poem today for WEP, because yesterday I posted about war too, or how to write about war in a book.

    I found this poem chilling and sad, a perfect combo.

  5. Wow. I agree with Chrys and Beverly, haunting, sad, poignant and unfortunately rings of truth. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  6. I think your costumer is lyrical. Well done, Nilanjana.

  7. Perfect for the W...E...P challenge! But you're work always is, so I love the costume, but especially the poem!

    Trick or Treat and Happy Halloween!

  8. Thank you for sharing this poem Nilanjana. It is always haunting, always poignant. Definitely not the wrong costume! Always a thrill to read what you write, though, but I know how time slips away!

    Thank you for participating!


  9. To abuse words already used by others, I found this poignant and certainly haunting.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  10. This is right up my alley, the very real aftermath and pathos of war. Well done.

  11. Yours words are always so poignant, meaningful and eloquent conveying the right emotion for the theme. Great writing.

  12. Saturday November 2nd, 2013

    Dear Nilanjana,

    Oh what a beautifully sad poem. The next to the last line "the mothers too are gone to join their sons at the last frontier." is so haunting.

    No, you are not wearing the wrong costume. You always show us something thought-provoking and meaningful.
    What is the El Alamein battle?
    Best wishes,

    Anna's WEP-Challenge for October: Haunting

  13. Poignant. Well written and sent right to the heart. Nicely done. I loved it.

  14. Lovely poem. Some - sadly, I think - are adults before 18 because they have to be. It's a worthy question, though.

  15. Thank you Denise, and everybody else!