The Face of War by Nick Cooke

They ask the boy not to wipe his face

so all can see the blood and gunpowder.

Does he whine or protest? He does not.

Does he cry for his mother? He does not.

He goes along with everything they ask

because, let’s face it, he is dead inside

or if not dead, then an automaton,

a bloody five-year-old automaton.


He’s a boy that should be in the street

with a ball, and if you threw one at his feet

and told him he had to play, he likely might –

with the same blank eyes that admit no light.


We are people that should be on the street

and some may be, but most are in their seat

sure as they can be it will come out right –

there are always others to carry the fight.


We gaze from behind the polished lens

and clearly see the blood and gunpowder.

Do we whine or protest? Not really.

Do we cry to our gods? Not sincerely.

We go along with everything that’s done

because, let’s face it, we are dead inside,

or if not dead, then just plain bloody beat.

Pass me the remote – the rout’s complete.


5 thoughts on “The Face of War by Nick Cooke

  1. The face of war is indeed ugly, and this ugliness has gone on too long. Perhaps those that can are too dead to do something lasting and constructive. Like you say, we all, like it or not, go through the motions albeit helpless and angry, frustrated and sickened with sorrow…but immobile Your words are eloquent and paint no frills and capture an indisputable essence.


    • Anita Lebush,thank you very much for your comment. You clearly got the spirit of the poem. It’s one of those situations where I would like to be proved wrong! I did qualify the bleakness by admitting ‘some may’ get into the streets in protest, but increasingly few (so to speak).

      Liked by 2 people

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