Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rules of Engagement

Banquet Scene with a Lute Player by Nicolas Tournier, 1625
Posted by Tess Kincaid for Magpie Tales

Engagement rules of war are written down
to help ensure that fighting men are just,
irrational encounters never must
result in lust for blood or mere renown.
We knew in times of peace what seem outgrown:
accepted codes of conduct we could trust
to keep away a sense we are unjust
to wish for faded values - overthrown.

If all we can accomplish through our words
is distance from our friends and family,
why do we not keep still, not speak, just smile
or learn to paint, or write – sing like a bird;
a cardinal who praises, “pretty, pretty”,
an engaging rule of love, meant to beguile.

Poem is posted for


  1. "to help ensure that fighting men are just,
    irrational encounters never must
    result in lust for blood or mere renown".
    How far is that from the desire for Glory we were taught as children.
    You were wise to link this to love too, with lust and glory motivating many a romantic adventure!

  2. oh but all we know is to take our happiness by force...ugh...if only a better love...

  3. Magnificent words Ann!

    Anna :o]

  4. Rules of engagement for peaceful you say...we used to have them...but not so much anymore...kinda sad. A smart, insightful write. Vb

  5. Ann~ There is much wisdom in your words. Restraint instead of a hurtful comment; "learn to paint or write - sing like a bird" instead of speaking out in anger. The mores of the times (or all times) stated in language akin to Middle English. Very meaningful: I really am taken with this verse. xo

  6. A far meatier meal than the one on the table in the painting! I enjoyed it! :)

  7. First class! The sonnet form and strict adherence to a rhyme scheme and pentameters suits the subject admirably.

  8. I like the rhythm and internal rhymes. It's wonderful to read aloud:-)

  9. wonderful energy here. nice magpie!

  10. Ah, but would it not be worse to live with the knowledge that we were not true to ourselves?

    (Thanks for the visit!)

  11. Very thoughtful, insightful...rules of engagement for our daily conversations. I love your rhyme scheme. Excellent poem!

  12. fine Italian Petrarchan Sonnet (one of my favourite varieties). Don't encounter many well-wrought sonnets on the blogs. Enjoyed it immensely

    Luke @ WordSalad

  13. Lovely poem in thought and word, and a very impressive and beautiful use of the Italian sonnet form. The message is what appeals to me most however, and I like its honesty, and the succinct statement at close on the whole purpose of rules and words themselves.

  14. You had me with the title 'Rules of Engagement'

  15. Thank you to all for visiting and commenting. You are always so generous with your reactions. Happy long weekend to all.

  16. You are always so ambitious with your poetry. Most people just dash off a few lines and leave it at that. Not you, seemingly. This kind of work surely demands quite a lot of thought and honing.

  17. Smart, concept-provocative stuff. Superb.