Engagement

By Adam Sol

Featured art: Reverie (Study for the Portrait of Frank Burty Haviland) by Amedeo Modigliani

The young man knows he’s going to die today, but he’s wrong.
The other young man figures the army is the best way to improve his life, but
he’s wrong.
They both think their weapons will protect them, but they’re wrong.
They both believe their prayers will help.

Their commanders have intentions and intelligence, but they’re wrong.
We’ve heard the story before. It’s wrong.
The news will document it, but it will be wrong.
The war on terror, the war on Islam, the clash of civilizations.

The explosion will exceed the necessity of the occasion.
The exchange of fire will be unbalanced.
The response will be disproportionate.
The reporter is factually incorrect, theoretically misinformed, morally reprehensible.

The clear typeface and perfect binding are misleading.
The reader is uncomfortably and inappropriately implicated.
The tranquil mind is insufficient to the task.
The young men, necks dirty and damp, advance.


Adam Sol’s most recent book is How a Poem Moves: A Field Guide for Readers of Poetry (ECW Press, 2019). He is also the author of four books of poems, with one on the way from ECW Press in 2021. He is Coordinator for the Creative Expression & Society Program at the University of Toronto’s Victoria College.

Website: http://www.adamsol.com

Twitter: @adamyael

Originally published in NOR 9 Spring 2011

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