Poetry is for warriors

An officer in the IDF stopped a soldier from reading personal poetry on the radio because it would “ruin the image of a combat soldier.”

As the Independent’s Alistair Dawber notes:

Throughout history, soldiers faced with grim circumstances on the battlefield have been inspired to write some of the world’s most memorable poetry. Can anyone really say that John McCrae was a wuss when he wrote ‘In Flanders Fields’ and before dying of pneumonia on a French battlefield in 1918? Or that Wilfred Owen was a bit wet as he wrote his famous works before being killed a week before the end of the First World War?

To that, I’d add Yehuda Amichai, Amos Oz, Haim Sabato, Israeli writers who fought bravely in numerous wars. And how about the paradigmatic Jewish warrior-poet, King David? According to traditional accounts, David was not only a ruthless and powerful fighter who slaughtered thousands of men and reclaimed the glory of Israel, but he was the Jewish poet laureate, a bard unafraid to display his vulnerability, his pettiness and his love.


So I say, Write on, young soldiers!

SPONSORED TRIBUTES: Click here to read appreciations of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg. 

Joe Winkler is the online coordinator for JTA.