March 15_Dogs of War

See the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project to read the poems for March 15, 2014 by scrolling down to “Day 15/Poems 15” and of course, to read my poem: Dogs of War / by John C. Mannone

Backstory to “Dogs of War”

I seem to favor word prompts, as you have witnessed before. Today, being the 15th, it’s the Ides of March. That’s when Julius Caesar was viciously assassinated in 44 BC. More than 60 conspirators confronted him. He was stabbed 23 times. Among other sources, here’s one from the popular Wikipedia.

From Mark Antony’s speech is where I get the title. Here is that part of Act 3, Scene 1, Julius Caesar by Shakespeare:

Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Atê* by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

*Atê, an ancient Greek divinity and a daughter of Zeus (according to Homer), led both gods and men to rash and inconsiderate actions and to suffering. But in the tragic writings, Atê appears to avenge evil deeds and inflicts just punishments upon the offenders and their posterity (Cited from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology)

The March word list from a couple years ago is now biased with this thought, but the words were amenable to the theme:

-howl
-join
-flake
-ingratiate
-wreath
-march
-switch
-mellifluous
-a type of musical instrument
-use the word “paradise” or a synonym of paradise [heaven, glory, Eden, ecstasy, the garden…]

One more thing, I remember Lyndon B. Johnson say, “Let us not unleash the dogs of war,” while, ironically, bombers were flying over the capital of Vietnam. Well, that’s what I seem to remember. And it’s this quote that lets me get to the point of the poem. As is reflected in other war poems, I show that mankind doesn’t seem to learn from past violence, war.

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