colors of time
The Road
Ever On
Man of
Return to


Fall 1994

This is a story of two brothers
        The oldest and the youngest of their family
a tale of a distant, far off land
        across the shimmering sapphire sea
Part truth, and part my imagination
        Imagining what I do not know
The greatest war of human history
        A war of grief, a war of woe

I see two brothers take up arms
        to guard their homes, defend their kin
        not knowing that they'll never see each other again

Forced to forget the past,
        fighting alongside those who once
                would've rather seen them dead

Forced to forget the past
        White hands holding rifles,     
                ready to kill what they deem as less than human
                Unsatisfied even though a million lives are obliterated.
                men, women, and children,       
                they count the heads of the murdered one by one

Forced to forget the past, 
        when your only hope for survival
                is a killer, a rapist, and a thief

I see two brothers go to war
        lost among a sea of a 
                thousand brown hands and faces

White faces cheer them on
        but only a handful march into battle
So much for their promised help

But when you're fighting for survival,
        you've got no choice but to try and win
        even when all you ve got to fight with
                are your bare hands
        against flashing steel
                and burning lead

I see two brothers surrender
        on the cold, barren battlefield
        a field scarred with explosions
        scorched earth, blackened rock
        corpses strewn about, bodies broken and twisted
                There is only death here

        I see two brothers march into uncertain fate
        death or life, war or peace

        Alongside them a white man marches
                There was a time when
                        the two brothers
                would've called him
        but Death cares little for military ranking
                She takes all equally into her arms

But war is uncertain and Fate is not kind
One brother will live but the other will die

And so I imagine what I cannot imagine
        With horror in my heart

        The eldest brother marching to his death
                Bayonets at his back, gunfire crackling
                Bombs in the sky
                        The dead littered all over the road
                        Brown and white bodies 
                                scattered across the plain
                Death behind him, only death ahead of him
                Either the quick death of a shower of bullets,
                        an explosion rending his body in half,
        or the slow death of starvation and dehydration
                maybe a bayonet in his back
                        as he lies in the sun
                                bleeding to death
                And while countless die,
                        a General sits at his desk
                        pushing pins through a map
                        like this were some kind of grand game
                While he tells everyone the war goes well.

        And so, I imagine what I cannot imagine

                The youngest brother fleeing homeward
                        terror and death in pursuit
                and finding only more terror and death.
                        his village wracked with the chaos of war
                plundered and looted
        "accidentally" strafed and bombed by their allies

        And all his friends and family are now
                so many piles of bones in an open field
                And the few that remain
                        are like wraiths, 
                half starved and terrified

        I imagine what I cannot imagine,
                some half mad tale of long ago
                        old and forgotten
                        lost and forsaken
                a curious mixture of truth 
                        and imagination

        Confused anger burns in my heart
                and I wonder:
        Do I know the truth or is this some mad fancy of my mind?
        And at the same time I am ashamed
                for turning suffering and pain
                        that I could never know
                        Into mere words
                human life and death
                        into simple thoughts

        Turning something sacred into a tale of my stumbling words

        But, someday perhaps, all will be forgotten
        and this story, my words, like a guttering candle,
                will fade, flicker, and die...

1994 by Victor Ganata