does it bloom, this horror,
from my nonEuropean roots
from the scent of cinnamon in my blood?
the brown and yellow tinges of my skin?
or is it just your old soul and mine and
this intuition we share on the ground
of one another’s battles, witness the fuming
anger feeding disenchantment in the street
and the acquisitive tendencies of the elite,
cowardly saber-rattling, cut off from authority,
from that innate expressively honest power
of our erotic selves, our instinctive selves,
the non-rational knowing that embodies
strength, nothing weak or pornographic
in its expression, a profound antithesis
to the pornography of war and hate that,
in the end, is about impotence, about the
emboli of narrow minds, grasping oligarchs
fomenting tribal dissents for their own ends
or dropping bombs like a child bangs pots –
to overwhelm the fear of thunder, a game
of chicken, of the hawk-hawk play
toward a mutually assured destruction . . .

just a matter of time 

as we stand the ground of one another’s battles
where peace would be revolutionary and
the unholy alliance of wealth and fear-mongering
might burn itself out, find its way into justice,
but here we are, once again, in thrall to the
sociopaths, they have us bloodied and bound ~
their eyes are the aged face of clockwork orange,
numb to the obscenities of maim and murder …
where is the will of the cup to overcome
the sword? time for the temple whores to
sleep with insanity and take the war out of it

© 2017, poem, Jamie Dedes; Photo credit ~ July 9, 1956 nuclear weapon test on Enewetak Atoll, an image of the National Nuclear Security Administration and as such in the public domain

Note: This poem is an excerpt from the March 2018 issue of The BeZine, Waging Peace. 


Where is the will of the cup to overcome the sword?  Why aren’t we succeeding in our efforts to bring wars and other violent conflict to an end? Share your thoughts … perhaps inspiration … in poetry. Leave your work or a link to it in the comments section below. All are invited – encouraged – to participate: novice, emerging or pro. Works shared on theme will be published here next Tuesday.  If this is your first time participating in Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photograph to thepoetbyday@gmail.com. This will be used to introduce you to readers. You have until Monday, April 9 at 8 p.m. PDT to respond.



  1. Demolishing Starlight

    Shreds of ideas conflate and implode in the city.
    Misconnected selves await, lone and lurching,
    Fresh numbness to kill the face of the unknown.

    Action for re-action, tornado for square yard.
    Ambitious chimneys pump carbon into skies:
    Deflated vistas, echoed in angry eyes.

    Life all around – nature on shutdown.
    We lost the midday sun to a rash of window-blinds,
    Partitioning humankind. Demolishing starlight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jamie,

    My fourth response:

    We Play Blood

    to see others bleed,
    for violence, ugliness,
    the glorification of war.

    Hold our hands over our ears,
    close our eyes at the blood delight
    we can no longer stand

    when feathers bleed,
    teeth tear open wounds,


  3. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my third response:

    A Bad Day

    bad day

    The awful conscience cavalry and infantry swept down from their concealed positions in the surrounding hills, blocked the road and engaged my unsuspecting good feeling from three sides.

     Surprised and outmanoeuvred,
    my good feelings did not have time to draw up in battle array, and were forced to fight  desperate hand-to-hand battles
     in open order.

    My good feelings quickly split into three parts. Westernmost was attacked by awful conscience cavalry and forced into the lake, leaving the other two groups with no way to retreat.

    The centre, stood its ground, but was cut down by black dogs after three hours of heavy combat.

    In less than four hours, most of the good feeling was killed.

    My day went so badly
     earthquake has overthrew cities,
     turned rivers, levelled mountains.

    And all of this was renamed
    as Blood River by Charnel House,
    my Place of Bones, my Sepulchre,
    Cape Red, my  Subdued Place

    I sliced all my hair off to the scalp.


  4. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my second response:

    Sword Spirit

    Siggy falls fo’ Sword Spirit, beautiful
    daughter o’ King Eylimi. Sigmund
    wooes Sword Spirit agin younger kings.

    Sigmund wins an gets hitched to Sword Spirit
    One o’ younger suitors Lyngi says “Tha not ‘aving ‘er. al av thee bollocks on a spit, first. Thas won battle but not war. I’ll av thee.”

    Reight scrap an battle ensues,
    fists in heads, lamping one another.
    Siggy can’t be defeated ‘cos o’ his sword
    as is one only he could pull out
    on oak int mead hall.

    One Eye arrives wi his invincible spear, Swayer. When Siggy sees
    One Eye, he attacks him, when he strikes Swayer, Wrath shatters into two.

    At night, Sword Spirit, preggers wi Siggy’s bairn, finds her husband still compos on battlefield. Siggy says ” Gather brok bits o’ ma sword, so r son can forge a new un”. “He will avenge me an thy father.”

    Lyngi, still wants to marry Sword Spirit,
    fails to find her or her treasure,
    she’s flitted to Alf, Sea Rover an marries him

    Sword Spirit bears a son, she calls Siggy.
    Alf, brings up Siggy’s son as his oan


    After Counsel’s tale, Siggy agrees
    to help his foster-father to get Ottergold

    Twice, Counsel meks Siggy a sword,
    both brek on anvil. Finally Sword Spirit giz
    her son brok bit o’ dead Siggy’s sword.
    Counsel forges wi brok bit, Siggy calls sword Wrath. Wi Wrath, Siggy cleaves anvil in two.


  5. I could go on forever but this is enough for the prompt …

    “The Law of the Desert”
    (Raanana, July 7, 2014)

    We say that we follow God
    But we are only following our own nature.
    This is not a poem, but a prophecy:
    Cover your mouth and your eyes,
    For there will be an eye for an eye
    And a tooth for a tooth
    Until we are all toothless and blind.

    (c) by Mike Stone

    Thank you for your great prompt, Jamie!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Credo”
    (Raanana, June 4, 2014)

    Chorus of 30 men:
    I dunno but someone says
    God made the world in seven days,
    Sound off – one two!
    Sound off – three four!
    Take it on down –
    One two three four, five six SEVEN!

    Chorus of 27 men:
    I dunno but I’m no wimp
    I don’t come from no damn chimp,
    Sound off – one two!
    Sound off – three four!
    Take it on down –
    One two three four, one two THREE FOUR!

    Chorus of 24 men:
    I don’t know but it’s been said
    M’soul’ll go to heaven when I’m dead,
    Sound off – one two!
    Sound off – three four!
    Take it on down –
    One two three four, one two THREE FOUR!

    Chorus of 21 men:
    I don’t know but it’s declared
    God’s my shield and my sword,
    He hates the enemy worse than me
    And waves our flag from heaven free!
    Take it on down –
    One two three four, one two THREE FOUR!

    Chorus of 18 men:
    I don’t know if what they tell
    Is right for me or straight from hell.
    Sound off – one two!
    Sound off – three four!
    Take it on down –
    One two three four, one two three four.

    Chorus of 15 men:
    I don’t know but I’ve been told
    Ever-thing’s fourteen billion years old,
    Sound off – one two!
    Sound off – three four!
    Space and time
    Are infinite – and we’re null.

    Chorus of 10 men:
    I don’t know whether it makes sense
    But we’re dead for most o’existence
    Sound off – one two!
    Sound off – three four!
    Take it on down –
    One two three four, one two three four.

    Chorus of 5 men:
    I don’t know but I’ve been told
    Outer space is mighty cold,
    Sound off – one two!
    Sound off – three four!
    Take it on down –
    Four three two one zero, Kelvin.

    One man singing solo:
    I don’t know, I’m all alone,
    There’s no place to go to
    No one to go,
    Sound off – one two,
    Sound off – three four,
    Take it on down –

    (c) by Mike Stone

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Rosh HaShana 2013”
    (Raanana, September 4, 2013)

    The children fly out of the synagogue
    Dressed in white shirts and shorts
    And dresses with petticoats
    Trying to be first on the swings
    And slides and teeter-totters
    Their voices yelling happily
    Safely cradled in their parents’ certainty
    That today of all days
    Maybe the war won’t begin
    But the war always begins
    It’s just a matter of time.

    (c) by Mike Stone

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Jerusalem”
    (Raanana, August 21, 2010)

    Jerusalem. It sits in your mind,
    It rolls gently off your tongue,
    It lingers languidly on your palate.
    Jerusalem – four syllogistic solipsistic syllables.
    Yerushalayim – five phonemes,
    Last a little longer in my mouth.
    Ir HaShalom, city of peace.
    Al Quds, the holy.
    Just saying its name is almost a poem.
    Younger than the spring,
    Older than the mountains girding her dry loins,
    Like an old woman who has buried far, far too many children.
    Her stones, cubit by cubit by cubit, glitter in the sunlight
    And weigh heavily on the rubble of our bones,
    Too heavy to carry, too dear to shrug off.
    The clang and gong of her iron bells,
    The nasal atonalities of her myriad muezzins,
    The chaotic murmurs of gossip and prayer
    Rumble and soar skyward from her breast.
    The night flows in through open windows
    And shushes her children to sleep,
    But there’s no room for even one more dream,
    One more hope,
    One more ghost.
    Then almost an after-thought,
    A bomb bursts into jagged thudding light as
    Thousands of ululating shrapnel sing through buttery flesh
    And pock the burning stone.
    Jerusalem will always have a place in her heart for
    One more ghost.

    (c) by Mike Stone

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “Kaddish”
    (Raanana, October 7, 2008)

    Standing at the graveside
    Of my friend’s father,
    I’d heard of him although
    I’d never met the man.
    He must have been religious,
    His sons most certainly were.
    Yisgadal vayiskadash shamey rabo …
    Hallowed and magnified may He be.
    They say there are no atheists on the battlefield.
    As I near my own horizon,
    My life has become a battlefield
    Over-run by ghosts and lengthening shadows,
    Stretched out toward some black hole.
    The mourners take turns shoveling dirt,
    Pushing small mounds on top of the shrouded body.
    Around them a crowd of friends, acquaintances, and passers-by
    Stand discussing current issues,
    The rising belligerence of this nation and
    The falling price of that commodity.
    The world divides itself in two:
    Those who’ve just lost a father
    And those who haven’t.
    The earth closes around the father’s death
    And I think to myself
    There is only one,
    One earth, one life,
    And it is here and now.
    There is no Satan to tempt our sins
    And no Hell but
    The hell we make for each other,
    No God to protect and guide us
    And no Heaven but
    The heaven we create for each other
    Here and now.
    It is the day before the Day of Atonement and I think
    What does it matter if I’m a Jew?
    That I believe or don’t?
    In the end of days
    There is little difference between the killer of six million
    And his smallest dimpled victim.
    It’s all for nothing
    And nothing for all.

    (c) by Mike Stone

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Here are my submissions:

    (Darmstadt: November 1970)

    Foggy midnight fingers in a November sky,
    Grey-orange leaves on a wet path,
    Betrayal in the moon.
    The old strength returns,
    The pale green light returns to the eyes,
    The bloodmyth returns to the arms.
    Existence is a form from the future.

    (c) by Mike Stone

    Liked by 1 person

  11. …love it….

    “witness the fuming
    anger feeding disenchantment in the street
    and the acquisitive tendencies of the elite”

    exactly the way I woke this morning!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my first response:

    On Bloodwant

    She wears the helmet of war
    above her red blitzkrieg eyes
    and holocaust smoke.

    It is her day of blood.
    She makes me frenzied.

    I mutilate my own arms and legs.
    Stab, and let my bloodpain

    flow into a cup to drink,
    or offer to her.

    Invoke the war fury,
    so we can lob the spear

    into foreign earth.
    She is being modest.

    Before she wanted sliced
    flesh to feed her bloodwant.

    Liked by 1 person

Thank you!

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