House of the Tomato

If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato. -- Erica Jong

Regional website for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, in partnership with the Reader's Loft.


Celebrating, sharing and inspiring poetry throughout Wisconsin.

It Was to Die For

"It was to Die for" a phrase that bothers me..mostly it's in reference to someone having a decadent chocolate dessert. As I watched the Vietnam war series...that phrase came to mind..what is something you'd really die for? People interviewed in that series said what a waste it was-- no point in the battles. A line said was " To die for the biggest nothing" -- that stayed with me.   In this poem, is the last line too abrupt?

It Was To Die For
(in response to the Ken Burns Series on the Vietnam War)

 LBJ and Rumsfeldt
knew it wasn’t winnable
kept sending them to Vietnam
for another decade,
so many sons and daughters
mothers and fathers,
dead on both sides,
the innocent, the poor
the uniformed
the uninformed
bloody boots on the ground
bullets in bone
flesh on fire
tirades of air raids
glorification of body counts
quantifying the unquantifiable.
How can you measure a life?
War protestors trying, trying
but killing continued,
even death at Kent State, 
Leaders hell-bent to save face
while soldiers had theirs blown off,
it was to the biggest nothing to die for.


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