dVerse ~ Poets Pub Poetics: The good and the evil

This poem was rendered to meet today’s dVerse challenge offered by Paeansunplugged from Delhi. We are to write about the good and evil in mere mortals, the good in evil and/or the evil in good. For me, at no time is that enigma more profound than in times of war and battle.

Conundrum War

One story I’ve never told,

a confession…

if evil were evil enough,
if good were good enough,
I would simply tap a secret reservoir of courage…
but courage, too, has finite quantities,
yet it offers hope and grace to the repetitive coward.

I can’t fix my mistakes.
Once people are dead, I can’t make them undead…
killing and dying are not my special province.

Am I too good for this war?
Too smart, too compassionate, too everything?
I’m above it. It’s a mistake, maybe.

Look both ways at good and evil or take Hamlet’s advice and think it so.
Mind the gaps between and within our perceptions of what is better and what is truth.


Click the soldier for more good and evil poems.

33 thoughts on “dVerse ~ Poets Pub Poetics: The good and the evil

  1. Thanks for waking me up this morning with your conundrum, Bill! Like Tricia, I thought of the Russian soldiers fleeing Ukraine, and of some Americans I met in Germany in the seventies who had escaped being called up. If everyone refused to fight, would we still have wars? I would hope so, but there are always those who thrive on conflict.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kim. The poem is exactly the inner-conflict faced by the conscripted non-professional soldier.
      My take on history is that those who want war always get their wish.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very thought provoking and compelling write, Bill. The inner conflict can be killing.
    As long as they keep giving a call for war, people will line up. I keep hoping for the day when no one turns up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This world is rife with its share of evils. What we need is enough contemplation and actions towards goodness.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. But not the Russian invasion of Ukraine, specifically.

      However, I have no doubt that dissonance applies to men (and perhaps women) being conscripted into wars they do not support.


  4. As the saying goes, only the dead have seen the end of war. It’s in the DNA of our species, to mass-kill each other for power, trinkets and stupid greed, land, whatever. Those who can rise above it are the exception, and we need more of them. Lots to think about in this finely crafted piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Conundrum, indeed. Made me think of Achilles and Ulysses having to dig him up out of his mother’s skirts. Homer, the first great poet of war, showing its glory and its deceit.
    ~ Dora


  6. A wonderfully written reflective piece, Bill. It is such a conundrum and I cannot imagine the angst one must feel when forced to go fight a war one does not believe in.


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