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Desolation Row (A Poem About War)

John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded the "Best Poet 2014 and 2021" Hubby Awards.

"Nash, Paul - The Menin Road - Google Art Project". Via Wikipedia - _The_Menin_Road_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

"Nash, Paul - The Menin Road - Google Art Project". Via Wikipedia - _The_Menin_Road_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

My Inspiration for this Poem

Throughout history there have been countless wars, and in fact it seems that there is always a war being fought somewhere in the world. It also happens to be a popular topic for writers lately and I have read a number of recent articles about the First World War in particular, including an article called "Doomed Youth: soldier poets of the First World War." This included a video reading of the poem "Anthem for Doomed Youth" by Wilfred Owen, which really moved me.

It inspired me to write the following poem for which I borrowed the name and style from one of Bob Dylan's songs "Desolation Row." It just seemed to fit the theme perfectly. I hope he doesn't mind. (This poem could relate to any war past or present.)

Desolation Row


They're sending letters home to family,

They're saying all is well.

Though their comrades fall around them,

They're young men alone in Hell.


Here comes the stoic General

As though he's in a trance.

One hand is on the trigger

The other in his pants.


And the Front Line they are nervous,

They are searching for their foe,

As the bombs are dropped upon them

On Desolation Row.

US oldiers at Guadalcanal 1942

US oldiers at Guadalcanal 1942

One soldier has a photo

Of his sweetheart in a locket.

He signs the cross, then kisses it

And puts it in his pocket.


Now the enemy's advancing,

It seems a hopeless cause.

"How did we come to be here,

Fighting other countries' wars?"


And the only sound that can be heard,

After the shells and mortar slow,

Is the sound of dying heroes

On Desolation Row.

© 2015 John Hansen

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