Under the raven

How stark is the righteous raven!
trouble of men.

The past of a soldier
battle-worn, silent
waits at the gate for weather to turn
to make him forget
while the coins in his cup
pretends to be medals.

Down, down, down into the darkness of raven,
Darkly he went —
while the wise, the virtuous, the upright,
told him to fight.

Down down, down into the darkness of raven
Darkly he went —
while only the dead where hailed to be heroes.
he waits and tries to forget.

Flanders by Otto Dix

Linked to Open Link Night at dVerse.

May 30, 2019

25 responses to “Under the raven

  1. Wow, the image of the old soldier, probably disabled, holding his hat out for coins, is seared into my brain. This is a powerful write; fits into our Memorial Day this week.

  2. The image of the cup with coins — his only medals….this is devastating. I’m reminded of the US soldiers who came back from Viet Nam and faced anything but the thanks and respect of their fellow countrymen.
    Regardless of politics, I am graterful to those who serve.

  3. This is incredibly potent, Bjorn! I can picture the soldier silent, waiting for the weather to turn, to make him forget.

  4. In Celtic mythology the raven is seen as a messenger between two worlds and when we see them here we can sense the warmth of a spirit that has passed. When I read those lines ‘The past of a soldier
    battle-worn, silent waits at the gate for weather to turn’ reminded me of someone who was still able to reclaim his spirit

  5. You create such an intense atmosphere with your words Bjorn. I admire those that fight for our freedom, and it’s sad to see them treated dishonorably.

  6. I like the use of kennings in the first stanza – a raven is indeed a sky-shadow. You write so well about aged men, the librarian and now the soldier, Björn, and they seem to real to me.

  7. You’ve so skillfully captured the evils of war and the ongoing woes of its aftermath for its human flotsam and jetsam. An honorable tribute to foot soldiers everywhere, everytime.

  8. This is very powerful–the ravens and the forgotten, wounded soldier who fought when he was told to fight. I like the repetition words and sounds.

  9. The dead are heroes and the living just try to survive the turmoil of their minds.

    I don’t know Bjorn but, you write from the darkest places these days. A premonition of disaster seems to loom.

  10. The first stanza really drew me in. I like the cadence and phrasing. You paint a vivid image of how those who “served” are still at war in this world…just to survive, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. So sad.

  11. This made me think about how corvids recognize themselves in the mirror. Here is the soldier, proud and righteous, seeking meaning and power and yet war is profoundly disempowering and often meaningless. It’s a cognitive dissonance to be revered and reviled so the soldier has to decide what to believe when faced with that mirror.

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