Thoughts on Britten’s War Requiem

There are sounds that try to destroy words –
klaxons and alarums,
the imprecise but deadly punctuation of gunfire,
the almost-silent click activating an IED.

This is truth:
Nothing rhymes with a scream.

But someone will carry beyond the berm
the awful meters, the unthinkable rhythms
that say “I did not do this for you,
or for my country. I did this
before it could be done to me.”

We must listen most closely
to the silence that falls between the words.

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