Ostomy Memories of W. W. II


MY HATRED OF WAR MUST STEM FROM WHEN I WAS IN THE WOMB.  I was born in late 1942.  My parents used to listen to war news on the radio every day, and my mother liked Tommy Dorsey.  I could hear it while I was growing in her warm belly, the sound of the radio penetrating right through her body and into my cute little fetus ears.  Swing music gave me a good feeling, and I love to listen to it even today.  But the war headlines scared me and left a lasting impression.  U. S. forces surrendered in Corregidor in May and I remember my dad cursing loudly and my mom crying.  The news in June was of the Battle of Midway.  My dad’s best friend was on one of those ships.  In August, we invaded Guadalcanal and the reports were frightening.  “I would have been in on that,” I heard my dad say.  He had been badly wounded at Pearl Harbor and given a medical discharge, walking with a limp for the rest of his life.  So, when I arrived, I was almost predestined to be anti-war.  I had received early lessons on the inhumanity and waste of it all, and it doesn’t matter how well-equipped you are, or how well-trained you are, or how alert and careful you are.  “Survival,” wrote Nadezhda Mandelstam, “is a matter of pure chance.”  


Hello Henry M.

Thanks for another thought provoking post.
I have written many rhymes about war and conflict as it relates to 'bullying', but on one occasion I collaborated in writing rhymes to compliment some fine art pictures on various contemporary issues. Below is the one relating to 'war'. 
It's not often that these rhymes see the light of day, so I am grateful for the opportunity to share this one.
Best wishes



What is war for? I’d like to know
and when it all ends, what is to show?
War is a consequence, rarely a cause
what then is peace?- just a pregnant pause?

War is a quarrel, a feud or a fight
where rivals can show off their strength and their might.
Nudged by a grudge or guided by pride
trying to claim that God’s on their side.

What are the reasons that war seems to thrive?
When one war is over – do the reasons survive?
I wonder what goes through the veteran’s head
as they pause to remember ‘their’ war and ‘their’ dead.

As they look to the future, are they more aware
of the quarrels and conflicts still lurking there?
For whose crusade was it? Whose conflict? Whose strife?
Requiring of other’s the loss of their life.

Are they aware that the victory ‘V’
from a different perspective is a pointer to see?
And all of the things that led to all war
are still there amongst us –just as before.

UN forces came to exist
to stop all these wars or at least to resist.
And CND have played their part
to try to stop another start.

The police and army are still there
as are the tools for modern warfare.
Do children need that new toy gun?
Is playing at war the way to have fun?

Is this war’s womb a fertile background?
with adults still squabbling and scrapping around.
Or am I just getting long in the tooth
not wanting this model for our modern youth?

Beneath the cenotaph, tall and high
the vet’ may pause to wonder why.
was their war worth all that pain?
Or will more and more come round again?

                                                 B. Withers 1997
( In: ’Issues and Concepts in Our Time’ 2002) 


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Reminds me of a song my grandma used to sing:

I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier

Reply to Justbreathe

Absolutely heartrending.  

Reply to Bill

Excellent, Bill.  Thank you.  

Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister



Make love not war...... :-D

Reply to Bill

Seems there is another Withers wanna-be in my family. Our 15-year-old grandson wrote this poem as an assignment whilst in the classroom -

Reply to Justbreathe

Good for your grandson, and good for you...anyone who uses the word 'whilst' has got to be okay.  

Reply to HenryM

I think it may be the English in me...hahahaha - both maternal grandparents from England

Reply to Justbreathe

I was going to say that maybe you have been hanging around Bill for too long!



With all that news of war you were listening to while in the womb, I'm surprised you didn't decide to just stay in there.


Reply to TerryLT

Actually, that IS what I decided, but my mother had other ideas and the next thing I knew there were bright lights and a cold metal scale.  To this day, I hate weighing myself.  

Reply to Justbreathe

Obviously a young man with the capacity for thinking and the ability to express himself. All of which should be acknowledged and encouraged.

Best wishes


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