This poem by Brian Turner, who is known to writing circles in the Pacific Northwest, was featured in the Voices in Wartime newsletter on Apr. 26. -- Turner earned an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) from the University of Oregon and then served in the U.S. Army for seven years. -- He was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1999-2000 with the 10th Mountain Division, and was an infantry team leader in Iraq for a year beginning November 2003, and served with the Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. -- He left Iraq in October 2004 and came off active duty on April 1, 2005. -- He has published poetry in several literary reviews, and a volume of his poems entitled Here, Bullet will be published by Alice James Books in November 2005. -- Here, Bullet was recently named the winner of the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award....
Voices in Wartime
A SOLDIER'S ARABIC
By Brian Turner
--This is a strange new kind of war where you learn just as much as you are able to believe. -- E. Hemingway
The word for love, Habib, is written from right
to left, starting where we would end it
and ending where we might begin.
Where we would end a war
another might take as a beginning,
or as an echo of history, recited again.
Speak the word for death, Maut,
and you will hear the cursives of the wind
driven into the veil of the unknown.
This is a language made of blood.
It is made of sand, and time.
To be spoken, it must be earned.