John Grey: “My War and Peace”

My War and Peace

Nothing better than the gentle grade
of a river bank,
book in hand,
breaking with plot and characters
now and then
to take in a scenery
that is anything but
what the author’s been describing.

No smoky, loud, ferocious,
battle scene here.
Just a stream
a little less idle than myself.
A fenced field
where a herd of cows
nibble noiselessly.

The squirrels aren’t concerned
about a further division
approaching from the rear.
The chipmunks are wary of hawks
not advancing cavalry.
Napoleon is a name unknown
to the wildflowers hereabouts.
And the elms don’t care a hoot
for Natasha and her suitors.

My eyes begin to close.
It’s not you, Tolstoy.
It’s my surrounds.
Yes, your war had me
thrillingly engaged.
But, as always,
I settle for peace.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East, and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review, and Roanoke Review.


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