“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Plato
The fire crackles
as she walks through the sand
leaving behind size four footprints
a fighter plane reflects in her brother’s eye
A ringing in her ears,
as she holds her up extra-small hands
the lens looking like a barrel
the ground buzzing beneath her size four footprints
Shards of glass are tucked into the sand,
as she tiptoes over the stone and concrete,
clutching onto her little pony
one last present from her father
Their voices scream freedom
as she peeks from underneath the red-patched door
holding her breath
as the combat boots march past
Stacks of green bulge from Their Gucci and Prada
as she scavenges for copper and brass
dust coating her pigtails
salt sticking to her cheeks
The Eye scans the waste
as she claims she’s a friend, she wants no more,
the Eye locks on, the hammer drops,
only the dead have seen the end of war.
Ah I thought it was about time I got back to some poetry. So this poem is my seventh in my collection of poems based off of famous quotations. Similar to my other poems (add links in later) Left Behind, Silence and Illusory, Size Four Footprint engages with some dark content matter.
However, whilst Left Behind, Silence and Illusory are all very explicitly and, to some extent, gratuitiously dark, Size Four Print is much more implicit and subtle. I felt that the explicit darkness of Left Behind, Silence and Illusory contributed to the poems sounding somewhat forced and contrived and I didn’t want the same for Size Four Footprints.
Considering this, I decided to write this poem with a great deal more subtlety and I wanted to allude to different aspects of war rather than stating them outright. At the same time, I didn’t want things to be too abstract, so I tried to keep things accessible. As far as structure goes, I opted for something more simplistic rather than playing around with the structure as I have done in previous poems.
Thanks to my friends Lerisa and Arvie for beta-reading this and of course thanks to Plato for saying this in the first place, although it is questionable whether he really did say this!
Check out my other quotation inspired poetry here:
1. Left Behind