Cycnos | Volume 21 n°2 Les Etats-Unis et la guerre. Les Etats-Unis en guerre - 

William D. Ehrhart  : 


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Again we pass that field
green artillery piece squatting
by the Legion Post on Chelten Avenue,
its ugly little pointed snout
ranged against my daughter's school.

"Did you ever use a gun
like that?" my daughter asks,
and I say, "No, but others did.
I used a smaller gun. A rifle."
She knows I've been to war.

"That's dumb," she says,
and I say, "Yes," and nod
because it was, and nod again
because she doesn't know.
How do you tell a four-year-old

what steel can do to flesh?
How vivid do you dare to get?
How explain a world where men
kill other men deliberately
and call it love of country?

Just eighteen, I killed
a ten-year-old. I didn't know.
he spins across the marketplace
all shattered chest, all eyes and arms.
Do I tell her that? Not yet,

though one day I will have
no choice except to tell her
or to send her into the world
wide-eyed and ignorant.
The boy spins across the years

till he lands in a heap
in another war in another place
where yet another generation
is rudely about to discover
what their fathers never told them.

[Reprinted from Beautiful Wreckage: New & Selected Poems by W. D. Ehrhart, Adastra Press, 1999, by permission of the author.]


Custer's Last Fight, Engraving by A. R. Waud, (1886 ?)


Alfred Waud's, Pen & Ink, (1886 ?)

Pour citer cet article

William D. Ehrhart, « Guns », paru dans Cycnos, Volume 21 n°2, mis en ligne le 13 octobre 2006, URL :


William D. Ehrhart

Journaliste, écrivain, poète