Elly McDonald


Cannon-fodder (1984)

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This is warfare

I could get what I want but it would only

Backfire: this is a doomed

And ignoble cause. In victory, defeat

But this

Is a cold and protracted campaign

More casualties (mere carnage)

More self-inflicted damage

This is my Crimea: a wearying, putrid, recurring

Night horror. We play over

The same sequences, we make

The same moves. Too studied, too

Well-practised: the positions are

Entrenched now.

We are buried

In trenches, our consciences deadened

This battle, weighted no way, is fought out in

No Man’s Land. This is an exercise:

We order reprisals for guerilla attacks

In cold blood, turning violence on

Innocent civilians

We use their wide eyes for target practice.

Author: Elly McDonald

Australian-born, with English mother, has lived in several Australian cities and in London. Travelled widely. Way way back when, published widely as a poet and short story writer.

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