The Great War

Laura Bonazzoli

(July 28, 1914 – November 11, 1918)

Laura Bonazzoli

 

One hundred times
now the Earth has swept
round the sun a full
arc and still the numbers
haunt:

Nine million
soldiers died
in fifteen hundred sixty-seven
days in the Great War. Four
a minute,
chins unshaved, Bibles or girls
in pockets, lungs
foamy with gas or shredded
with shrapnel, or hands thick or fine
that once played Bach or blackjack flung
quite distant from their stumps. Their time

stopped, eyes stunned,
clothed in grey or brown
or naked or shrouded,
they rise
before me, these beauteous
ghosts, one
at a time,
flushed from their graves
each time
someone says, “An angel saved me.”
“She prayed and she was spared.”
Or even, “I guess

it wasn’t his time.”

 


 

Laura Bonazzoli

Laura Bonazzoli is a freelance writer and editor, mostly in the health and life sciences. Her poetry has been published online and in print, including in Epiphany, Humanist Voices in Verse, Red Dancefloor, and Reed Magazine.


The poem from the October/November 2014 issue of Free Inquiry.

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