David Hawes


Poetry Workshop

Henry Hughes

The War of Art

I don't like to write poetry on computers.

Put a pencil in my hand, and that's when I come alive.

Lead strokes graze the glass-smooth surface of paper like

warning shots across confounded water.

The battlefield is drenched with salty drops from the thinking cloud

The counterattack! Harsh grinding of the blunt end of the pencil

Wipes out most of the graphite in its path,

leaving nothing but black shrapnel.

Furious exchanges occur, ghost-lines intersecting

Becoming more defined and less clear.

Lead staining my hand as it goes back and forth,

The pencil baton twirling as my hand wavers between writing and erasing

Hot oil ideas churn in the caldron

But when the time comes to dump them on the enemy,

They're too sticky to come out.

The war never ends. Even when the battle's over, the battlefield scrapped

And the results placed on a fresh sheet of paper

Surprise revisions paratroop down from clouds and continue the fray

The only way to stop the madness is to hollow the mind of any momento of the battle

And let it stand for others to see, a war memorial which honors the soldiers

But says nothing of what they went through.