Monday, November 08, 2004


It would appear that the battle is opening - or that in the BBC's words "US forces begin battering Falluja".

From Electric Venom, a military wife posts.

In the Commissary, mothers push infants propped in the grocery cart’s seat while another child or two wanders in their wake. Maternal, yet warriors in their own right, they speak in gently nurturing voices at odds with the grim, haunted pinch of their lips. Laden with diapers, cereal bars and juice boxes, their carts are filled with their private burden of fear, the fact they wrestle with so their children won’t have to: Daddy’s not coming home, and nobody knows if – or when – he is.

Although I smile, I can’t look in their eyes as I creep past. My cart is filled with the steaks my husband wants for dinner, and my heart is filled with the comfort of knowing he’ll be home to enjoy them. It’s a strange guilt, being married to a soldier who is home while so many others are not. Sometimes, I wonder whether if he ever feels the same odd guilt, too, but I’ll never ask. I’m afraid that merely speaking of it would set in motion a chain of events that would call him away.

From Victorian Worcestershire, A.E Housman on the attraction and repulsion of the warrior.

In valleys green and still
Where lovers wander maying
They hear from over hill
A music playing.

Behind the drum and fife,
Past hawthornwood and hollow,
Through earth and out of life
The soldiers follow.

The soldier's is the trade:
In any wind or weather
He steals the heart of maid
And man together.

The lover and his lass
Beneath the hawthorn lying
Have heard the soldiers pass,
And both are sighing.

And down the distance they
With dying note and swelling
Walk the resounding way
To the still dwelling.

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