Saturday, November 12, 2005

The War in the Air

The War in the Air
By Howard Nemerov

For a saving grace, we didn't see our dead,
Who rarely bothered coming home to die
But simply stayed away out there
In the clean war, the war in the air.

Seldom the ghosts came back bearing their tales
of hitting the earth, the incompressible sea,
But stayed up there in the relative wind,
Shades fading in the mind,

Who had no graves but only epitaphs
Where never so many spoke for never so few:
Per ardua, said the partisans of Mars,
Per aspera, to the stars.

That was the good war, the war we won
As if there were no death, for goodness' sake,
With the help of the losers we left out there
In the air, in the empty air.

This poem's subject is clearly stated in the title. It is a poem regarding the loss of war and the consequences. As the poet has stated although a war was won it was just or that no losses were experienced. The poet discussed the loss of war and those fathers, brothers, lovers, husbands, and uncles that never returned from this "victorious" war. Yet with all the pain accompanied with the grieving of all the dead, this victory is not seen as "victorious." This poem also stresses the fact war vetern are often forgetten and those who return receive all the praise. Forgetting that those who died, died for the country and giving their lives in the of duty to save others. This is at times true in society.


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