Posthumous stars

War was waiting,
mud and lice
and itch of sweat
trapped in wool.

It was waiting
in the company of
trench rats
fat from rot of flesh.

It was shell shocked
cries, and schrapnels
carving bones.

We are waiting
seeped in sepsis
from the feldsher’s saw.

Side by side
we’re laying waiting
for posthumous stars.

Wounded Belgian Soldiers

Wounded Belgian Soldiers

Today Kerry hosts the 55 words flash plus at toads. First of July it was 100 years since the beginning of the Battle of Somme, and I wanted to capture that boredom of war I have learned was the most significant part. I will also link this to poetry pantry tomorrow.

July 2, 2016

44 responses to “Posthumous stars

  1. The atmosphere you have described is palpable, the waiting in horrendous conditions for an end to suffering that might only resolve itself in death. Your voice carries further layers of meaning in the tone.. It gave me chills to hear your reading.

  2. Wow, you really nailed that piece.
    You included all the essentials of what it was like in such a well worded way. Like shrapnel carving bone, or the mention of wool.

  3. Your voices adds an extra depth to the words… It makes the itch more uncomfortable, the shrapnel sharper… and the meaning of war something too bloody, too hurtful and ugly to set aside. That image of metal “carving bone” won’t be denied…

  4. Waiting can call to mind blessings, but also horrors, hell. Such you’ve depicted vividly here, Bjorn. In a way, with all that is going on, we are all in that tense state of waiting in this poorly defined global war of terrorism. It seems like every day…

    So many wounded and killed on battlefields and in places that are not supposed to be war zones like theaters, schools and night clubs. God help us.

  5. We are waiting
    seeped in sepsis
    from the feldsher’s saw

    Boredom, yes and what is more boring than pain, or than the infinite waiting for more pain these soldiers endured. Eloquent and true words.

  6. The depths of despair at the creation of a ‘hero’ is often more than I can bear to think about…. but it needs the thoughts! Well done!

  7. Oh, I have read so much about the Battle of the Somme and have seen some of the places where this was fought. They say ‘war is hell’ and this battle was definitely hell for all concerned. So many young lives lost….so very tragic!

  8. This makes me think of Ernest Hemingway.

    I think the worst part would be knowing you were separated from someone you loved.

  9. Agh. Very painful here, Bjorn–the waiting for doom really–so terrible and sad–and the idea of posthumous stars is very unique and so interesting–the people themselves siting them or becoming them–so hard to know but very strong image. k.

  10. Life is very hard, sad it is, for the injured. I knew one injured in WWII, he would tell stories of days’ events in the hospital room. I only remember one, it is not tellable over the Internet.
    Mrs. Jim’s brother did not come back, his plane was shot down over Italy and he died there on the ground.

  11. The title itself evokes such pictures ! Wonderful as ever Bjorn. I think I’ll be hooked to the idea of posthumous stars for a while!

  12. Posthumous stars… we listen to the horror of the battle of the Somme and wonder why the lessons of war don’t stick in human memory… beautifully written Bjorn.

  13. Good morning, Bjorn. You have packed so much into your powerful poem of 55 words – the last stanza is full of despair.

  14. So powerfully composed and that last wish aches – i would imagine that would have seemed like the only relief.. what horrors we inflict upon each other..still..

  15. War takes so much from combatants even you don’t die part of you is dead for the rest of your life and you will never be the same again. This is a great poem Bjorn.

  16. I think you captured the full gamut of emotions and especially the boredom and anticipation, even fear of what lies ahead, as the battles continue…this was a particularly horrid one….so much life lost there on that field.

  17. You have such splendid word weaving effectiveness. You bring your readers into the muck of the trenches of warfare. One can almost smell the rot and gunpowder. Certainly a reader is drawn into the fear and boredom of waiting…..

  18. Wars. Still ongoing. In our minds. In our history.

    A burden for sure. Thank you for the poignant reminder, Björn.·

  19. Dark and brooding, a ravage of words well worth the write, for what is war if not the detriment of human self

    happy Sunday

    much love…

  20. Like a flea jumping from host to host, you describe it well….frighten the little mouse under my chair, and some think war is for everyone?

  21. “mud and lice and itch of sweat trapped in wool” is so incredibly vivid it makes my skin crawl….stellar writing, Bjorn!

  22. we’re laying waiting
    for posthumous stars.

    Just waiting to die and be later decorated posthumously. It can be so despairing for those in the trenches.


  23. Those first two stanzas are very well done. I could almost smell the cordite. Viva la

  24. A powerful – and from what I have read and hear – an honest, realistic articulation of the omnipresent “waiting” aspect of war. That cruel dichotomy of war has always struck me: waiting and waiting – to live or die. And when it finally ends: many wait for it to be over for them.

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