I’ve been posting about the essential nature of art in our lives, as sculpture, painting, music, gardening, writing, sensing, being.

Today I share a poem written by Robert Bly. 

In 1970, Robert Bly told Gregory Fitz Gerald and William Heyen that this poem “was written after hearing, on radio and television, Pentagon ‘counts’ of North Vietnamese bodies found”.  The poem is Bly’s response to such news accounts: “One repulsive novelty of this war is the daily body count. We count up the small-boned bodies like quails on a gun-shoot. The military people would feel better if the bodies were smaller, maybe we could get a whole year’s kill in front of us on a desk.”

Change is not immediate but poems like this contribute. The Vietnam War, known as the American War in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, began on November 1, 1955 and ended on April 30, 1975.

Counting Small-Boned Bodies

Let’s count the bodies over again.

If we could only make the bodies smaller,

The size of skulls,

We could make a whole plain white with skulls in the moonlight!

If we could only make the bodies smaller,

Maybe we could get

A whole year’s kill in front of us on a desk!

If we could only make the bodies smaller,

We could fit

A body into a finger-ring, for a keepsake forever.

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