Soldier
Iella

This is a love poem of sorts. It's an exploration of Jagg's inner battle between his background, with its strong awareness of duty and order, and the more chaotic situation evoked by his feelings for Jaina. If you're into poetry you'll see that it is based on a line by Wallace Stevens. (And if you've never read Stevens — you must alter that situation immediately. LOL)


"Soldier, there's a war between mind and sky." --Wallace Stevens--

He finds it hard to explain how war is
as natural to him as the throbbing
tattoo of his heartbeat, the whisper
of blood through his veins;

and how it is that the microcosm
he calls his ship is more familiar
to him than home. Home
where the mind is, where duty
spiders its intricate web
of gossamer threads so fine
one would swear they were invisible.

He thought so too once,
but that was when life was simple,
back when he had no reason
to pull the threads apart,
to pluck away their clinging,
cloying tendrils, and escape.

How can he find the words to explain?
Now there's a battle he may not win.
The measure of language is such
that it always falls short,
side-slipping around the issue at hand
or striking at a crazy angle
and spiraling away out of control.

That's what he does like about home.
The words stay in their place —
no sudden urges to sidle away.
No surprises really.

But that's because he's familiar
with the web, understands
the singularity of its pattern.
And the structure is really
quite straight-forward
in a circular kind of way:
father, mother, sisters, brothers —
he simply follows them
round and round.

Well, that's how it was.
He's not so sure
about it any more, but
he can't really explain it
except to say that
there's a war going on
in his head.

But that's all right because war is
as natural to him as ...

... the throbbing tattoo
of his heartbeat
when he sees her or
when she walks near;

as the whisper
of his breath
against her hair
when he takes her
in his arms.

The whisper of fabric against
skin as she moves
triggers the sensual
memory of stolen moments,
moments too few and
so treasured,
stolen moments
that steal
his breath.

The microcosm he calls
us — Jaina and Jagg —
has become as familiar
to him as home. Home

where the mind is,
where the gaze rarely
moves off track
or wanders up
to the sky
and the stars.

But here he is
amongst the stars
in the sky, and
the view is breath-
taking. And the war
between mind and sky
is very hard to explain ...

... but he is trying.



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