It’s peace­ful now
The guns are silent
There has been enough killing today
Both sides have quenched their thirsts
We sit here on bar­ren ground
Scoured by fire and blood
And eat a mea­ger stew
Prepared in haste
For who can know
When the sound of arms
Will once more res­onate
And we will again
Turn to slaugh­ter
Watch our bud­dies die
Pray for qui­et once again
To be spared one more time
Ask when it will cease for good
So that some may sur­vive
To explain the hor­ror
The guilt, the fury
And why war is such a waste

It’s peace­ful now
Who knows how long it can last
Minutes, hours, pre­cious days
Days dur­ing which we can sleep
Or take a long-absent show­er
Write a let­ter home
To let loved ones know
That we are safe today
For now
We scan our reduced ranks
Who is not here
Will he show up lat­er
Wounded or shred­ded
Walking or on a lit­ter
Will he sink weari­ly
Beside me
And let the silence between us
Speak vol­umes

It’s peace­ful now
The heat of bat­tle
Gives way  to the cold of autumn
Or are our shiv­ers
The result of fear at last unleashed
There is no camp­fire
To quell the trem­bles
We speak in whis­pers
The ene­my is near
And the dead should not be dis­turbed
The mud and the grime and the filth
That encas­es each of us
Is noth­ing com­pared
To the sor­row and shame
That cloaks our souls
How can those safe at home
Ever under­stand this
When we our­selves
Have trou­ble com­pre­hend­ing
What we do
It’s peace­ful now
For me

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.