Sunday, March 29, 2015

Where is the Art in War?

author's note:

What good does the anti-war novel do?  The anti-war movie?  The anti-war poem?

Well, the pro-war novels, movies, and ballads seem to have been quite effective.  So why stop trying with the other?


I dismiss that sage
who coined the phrase:
"The Art of War"

because to me, Art seems
the very opposite of War:

yes, War can be designed
from a drawing board

but once the fighting begins
the design quickly deteriorates
into staged chaos.

On the other hand...

Art tries to find the design
in what appears to be chaos.

War does produce
stirring slogans and battle chants

but those clever advertisements
and nervous threats
are not Art

nor are blazing war hymns
because their glory is false--
the melody soon muddles down
into a monotonous funereal dirge

that denies the light of Art.

Even the deep eulogies of War
do not qualify as Art
if bitterness and contempt
for the slain enemy
still burn coldly within
long after the armistice:

Art joins; War divides.

Yes, a history scholar
can elaborate on
the finer points of a battle
in the same manner
as the art critic
who rhapsodizes a painting

but don't be fooled--
War and Art have opposite intents:

whether necessary or not
War creates death...

whereas Art, of necessity
creates life.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
butterfly soul: the book

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