This Poem was Submitted By: Wayne R. Leach On Date: 2004-07-19 20:15:02 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Another Battlefield

in the first phrases of day I see them – white parachutes of leprechauns –  out in the wood imitating mushrooms in their foolishly objective and abject way of talking to me in my phase of walking ah, but where have those paratroopers gone? to another battlefield not of this world? to a braver war where mushrooms imitate leprechaun parachutes? to where I stand –  not understanding these empty parachutes and wars?

Copyright © July 2004 Wayne R. Leach

This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2004-08-07 22:43:44
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
I love this! The magical metaphor of leprechaun parachutes - the mushroom caps that the speaker views as something entirely different - becomes an indictment of war in all its waste and horror. Our tendency toward violent confrontation colors our every act, even the mere joy of walking in the woods. The "mushroom" parachutes might even be further extended to imply the death clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "First phrase of day" - lovely! "Objective/abject" - great sonic combination! In S2, you make excellent use of rhetorical questions. There are, of course,no true answers; we're left, like the speaker, "not understanding" because the whole concept of deadly warfare seems so alien to our situation as created beings, capable of passion, spirituality and altruism. The ending, with its "empty paracutes/and wars", is almost unutterably poignant. The use of "another" in the title implies that battles will go on as long as there are warriors to fight them. But in the "braver war", the reality of armaments may be displaced by the playfulness of the combatants. In the end, perhaps, it is up to us to ensure that such parachutes need never be used to launch paratroopers toward a battleground. It is we who must limit our aggressions to small confrontations, like the competition of spores for growing room. Otherwise, "war" will always be the last word. Very, very nice work. Brenda

This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2004-08-01 13:31:48
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Wayne: This poem has a similar effect on me as reading 'magical realism' -- I'm not certain what is 'real' and what is perhaps the effect of 'magic mushrooms' or of watching reports of the latest war casualties on the news these days. The overall feeling I gained from this poem is one of perplexity and confusion -- and I daresay that an adult who does not entertain these two states of mind in the present mêlée is lacking in perceptiveness, IMO. This is obviously not the case with the speaker here. In my estimation he 'has it right' with respect to "these empty parachutes/and wars" - the final line's question emphatic yet subtle. But I began with the ending, so will retrace my steps, with your indulgence, Poet. in the first phrases of day --I love "phrases" here - a poet's mind at work I see them – white parachutes of leprechauns – out in the wood imitating mushrooms in their foolishly objective and abject way --spiritless, unoccupied parachutes, empty of air of talking to me in my phase of walking The Poet meditates, and sees mushrooms as collapsed parachutes from an earlier time in which things made more sense. "leprechauns/out in the wood" imply a kind of reverie, like the first moments of waking when one sees hypnopompic imagery. It is at those time, if one is Celtic, a Poet, or romantic in vision, that one may peer somewhat beyond the ordinary. I am charmed, yet slightly uneasy as I walk with the Poet. ah, but where have those paratroopers gone? to another battlefield not of this world? to a braver war where mushrooms imitate leprechaun parachutes? "Paratroop" is a term from WWII - and though they still exist, the flavor of the poem, if you will, looks back in time to "a braver war" in which nothing was imitation, and paratroopers landed often "in the wood" -- i.e., unknown territory, in order to complete reconnaissance to gain information in a military survey of enemy territory. That they may be "not of this world" again gives the work an eerie tone, in which the battlefields of WWI and II are recalled for this reader (in black and white) and things seemed rather insubstantial until my father returned. I am a war baby, and so heard many stories from my father about same. He brought home a clock from a German plane, along with part of a parachute, so that we might see firsthand that the war was *real* -- as newsreels and v-mail could not do. Another thought on mushrooms that your poem elicits - the dreaded "mushroom" cloud, which meant annihilation to a generation which dreaded it after the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. to where I stand – not understanding these empty parachutes and wars? You allow the reader to "stand" with you, not "understanding" or literally comprehending the "empty parachutes/and wars" of your vision. I don't believe I have caught all of the Poet's intent for this gently-nuanced poem which asks the reader to reflect on the nature of war, reality and unreality. Thank you for this offering Wayne, and for your tolerance of my meandering about in your thoughts once more. I have enjoyed the journey immensely. Peace to you, Joanne
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jana Buck Hanks On Date: 2004-07-29 21:43:45
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Wayne, I read this poem earlier in the day and while out walking my dogs, I found a beautiful ring of mushrooms around one of the trees. I immediately thought of this poem and how appropriate the parachutes for Leprechauns and the metaphorical magic in linking them with men in war that parachute into battle. I love the way you set up the questions between understanding, yet not understanding war...and the dimensions of realities non-sense and imaginations place of reality....mushrooms the common denominator of both. This is an excellent piece and I wish I were more eloquent in my ability to do justice with the critique. It made me smile...and I believe in Leprechauns anyway! Bright Blessings Jana
This Poem was Critiqued By: Edwin John Krizek On Date: 2004-07-25 17:09:00
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Dear Wayne, Fine anti war poem. You made an interesting use of lower case letters. I paricularly like the images of the "leprechaun parachutes". That is, after all, what they look like drifting down. Perhaps death is a "braver war". Good thought. Ed KRizek
This Poem was Critiqued By: Mell W. Morris On Date: 2004-07-23 12:54:10
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Wayne: I normally eschew any poem about war, but your name as poet made me take a look and I'm glad I did. I feel your title belies the heart/core of your poem which I see as a metaphor on the indecipherable nature of war and its futility. Nicely paced lyric poem without meter/ verse. A quite unique and fresh idea which garners high marks because everything has been written before. I'm certain other poets will tease you as well: while you're walking, leprechauns imitating mushrooms speak with you. Do you consume said mushrooms as part of your communion with nature? Is this the reason your leprechauns have white parachutes? Stanza 2: you lose sight of the paratroopers (leprechaun parachutes) but in this second scene, the mushrooms are the mimes, aping leprechauns. Role reversal which seems to change nothing so I hear from poet that which "side" you're on really doesn't matter, and the frivolous paody of whether to be a mushroom or leprechaun...holds up the mirror to the foolishness and inanity of war. A clever poem by a gifted, talented, veteran poet. What more could we possibly ask of you? Very well done, Wayne. Best wishes, (Mrs.)Mell Morris
This Poem was Critiqued By: arnie s WACHMAN On Date: 2004-07-22 18:12:38
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.60000
Too many magic mushrooms Wayne? Yeah I saw them a long time ago when psylocibin (sp?) was in vogue. Oh yeah, I took a few trips with them there paratroopers only I never left the ground! Cute. "First phrases of day" That sentence to me doesn't quite fit. Maybe you meant "phases"? Okay. Got me a laugh or two. Thanks for submitting.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Lennard J. McIntosh On Date: 2004-07-21 01:20:22
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.10000
Re: "Another Battlefield" I appreciate this writer's ability to take huge, unanswerable perplexities facing mankind and reduce them to poetry. He not only reduces them, he notes the futility, hypocracy, etc., that most people miss, take for granted, etc. I believe this to be the true function of a poet, and this writer handles it splendidly. "ah, but where have those paratroopers gone? to another battlefield not of this world?" *** This is abstract writing, however, it's worded in such a way as to point us in the direction of meaningful, symbolism. The writer adds a touch of whimsy to the meaningless loss of life in war, present, past, and future. Exceptional writing. "where mushrooms imitate leprechaun parachutes?" *** The first stanza had the leprechauns imitating mushrooms. The second turns it around completely to skilfully illustate the absolute unpredictability of the violent upheaval that mankind now faces. "to where I stand – not understanding these empty parachutes and wars?" *** The writer doesn't claim to understand the meaning behind the air of violence the world breaths. Nevertheless, be implication he sounds a somber warning; he tells us, "Something Wicked This Way Comes." As readers, are we listening? I so admire this writer's skill and discernment. Len McIntosh
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