Colombo, Peace and Conflict, Poetry

The Fear of Peace

He heard that peace will be here soon

He lay in six inch deep muddy water
watching the enemy in the horizon
His eyes watered and mind wandered
who was the real enemy anyway
The barrel of his gun no longer felt cold
there was comfort and strength
Death was his constant companion
blood and limbs of friends and foes
the only scenery that he knew

He knew not of dry socks and shoes
but of them soggy in boots with holes
He knew not of the warmth of a woman
but of humid days and sweaty bodies
He knew not of the cool breeze of a paddy field
but of gun shots froman arid dessert

He knew not what this peace was

He dreaded the silence that would allow
the demons within to shout louder
He dreaded the loving arms that would embrace
the man that he no longer was
He dreaded the cold emptiness that would follow
when the gun by his side no longer kept him warm and safe

He knew not what this peace was
He feared the peace that would rob his life

First published in I Can Fly.

  • Dear Mihirini

    Thanks for your far reaching and poem on the adverse psychological effects of war, which I believe was written years ago during the last ceasefire.

    I think you poem is very insightful in what doctors have known already for some time after military conflicts which have been well researched (usually US based conflicts such as "Vietnam" and "the Gulf War" –… )

    There is a lot of mental trauma that has occurred to our Sri Lankan society particularly those who are fighting (regardless of side and ethnicity) which will need to be addressed. Right now with a hopeful end to military violence we, from a medical, psychological and societial perspective, should all be working together to devise strategies to tackle the damage that has been done to our societies by years of war and start the rehabilitation process.

    The number one step in this i believe is not to deny the adversities of war (regardless of whether you feel it is necessary or not!)

    I would advise everyone to at least peruse the following website called "war is a racket dot com" as it is quite an insightful account of an ex-Us Military man's perspective on war.

    From a spiritual perspective, although many twist war to work within the confines of their religious beliefs, the concepts of war against the principles of all the major religions that I have studied.

    Thank you again for posting this thought provoking poem Mihirini.

    Let there be peace in our country, and on this planet

    Bishan 🙂

    “Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong”

    “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

    “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

    “Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected”

    (quotes by Mahatma Gandhi)

    "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that"

    (Martin Luther King, Jr.)