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Love and War

by Allen Taylor

"Love and War" was written in the summer of 2005 while stationed in Iraq with my National Guard unit. I submitted the poem to Artella Words and Art's Poetry Idol Contest and won third place while still stationed in the Al Anbar Province.

    All is fair in love and war, they say; But I am not so sure. When love hurts it does not kill. When she maims She leaves a little something intact; Though hearts break they can mend. Time heals all wounds Except those of war. When the pain subsides a scar still marks Both the body and the soul. The greatest battlefield is the human heart, Moist and fallow and dry Depending on the season. Harvests come and go Just as soldiers on the path, But little is ever said of a lifetime. Generals and privates too have their petty loves. Warriors know the depth of loss, The pain of wanting to be free. Let Chalabi live, they say; So much depends on his breath. But Patrick Henry may die. And no one loves his country without injury. Betrayal begins where love and war unite And ends when bombs begin to fall. Sometimes knowing is too late. Give me your eyes and ears, Lend me your broken heart. Trade your weapon for an arsenal Or a stainless steel vessel of love To guard your palace of peace. If war be like love and love be like war, Give me love. Give me just and total love.

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