BANNER
koi sidebar
koi sidebar

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 2, June 2015

line


Bill Waters
Pennington, New Jersey, USA


The Western Front, 2015

For nearly ten decades, French farmers have turned up bones when they till their fields—pieces of soldiers and animals blasted to bits by high explosives in the back-and-forth battles of World War I. Unexploded shells are unearthed as well, and the ubiquitous barbed wire.

gunmetal clouds
and the smell of wet earth
bitter black coffee

It’s said that war debris will continue to surface for centuries to come— centuries! So much hate pounded into such a long, narrow strip of land. Plowed deeply by explosives, the Western Front is still a battlefield; it’s mostly underground now, but it’s there.

is that a stone
or a bone?
sound of distant thunder

Only the farmers can understand; only those who work the land and physically reap the reminders of war’s cost really get it. To visit an ossuary—the final resting place of countless unidentified bones—is a grim experience, certainly, but to pick up a single finger bone, a shard of skull, a broken rib . . . . It’s death on a human scale and a lesson not easily forgotten.

taking shelter
the rattle of rain
on corrugated steel

line

end

| contents page | next haibun |

koi sidebar r
koi sidebar r
contents