Ad Nauseam (Poem)

It’s been over a week, now, since the tragedy at Parkland. If you are at all like me, you were devastated that such horror could happen again…and again…and again over these last years.

Though I cannot imagine how those directly affected feel, in the days that followed I read the burgeoning crop of stances, responses, and outrage with heartache. For me, heartache means writing. Especially heartache on a topic so vast as this. Thus, I started drafting poems and after rereading them separate from the emotion in which they were written, I’ve decided that they’re worth sharing. Each day this week, I hope to share some new piece of writing with you, starting today with a poem titled, “Ad Nauseam”.

The first of the pieces I put together based on my feelings in these last two weeks, “Ad Nauseam” focuses on those who–in response to the terrible pain these teachers, parents, and children have endured–want to fight “righteously” by degrading, denigrating, and seeking to trivialize/ignore those who are in pain. Most specifically, it’s aimed at those who have the most direct power to make a difference, but have written this situation off like countless others without truly having even a conversation about why. This is a heavily metered, rhyming poem; very archaic in style and inspired by my favorite poem of all time “Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen.

Ad Nauseam

There are no glorious battles,
though there are causes worth our lives.
Every fight begun unravels
the goals for which we strive.
Yes, there may be times
when, in defense of our ideals,
we set aside our pencils
to take up our swords and shields,
but there are no glorious battles,
despite whatever you have read.

We pay by incremental lot
a tariff on the soul
for every battle fought
that we could not avoid.
And that’s not even speaking
of that direst of crimes–
letting others suffer
because you could not grow a spine.

So do not claim in gladness
the righteous cause that you stand for,
if you are not prepared
to march and fight your own damned war.
Children should not suffer–
whether fear or something worse–
merely for the preference of some,
and others, for their purse.

There are no glorious battles,
though each true hero earns their place,
through strife and courage persevering
in hope to make us safe.
Sadly, most such heroes
go forgotten but by few
who will remember when we fail again
as we seem content to do.

There are no glorious battles,
despite whatever you have read.
There are no glorious battles;
only tragic dead.

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