“I just want to make sure no one could ever say, ‘We didn’t know. We
weren’t told’.” – war correspondent Robert Fisk*.

It’s a camera not a gun;
No boom just zoom;
Here to shoot you
For the world to see
Not to end your life.

not enemy not ally
not valour not honour.
no medals no bullets
no marching no spit polish.

But where is the thin red line**
Between the fair and the foul
The frenetic and the free?

To picture a child in agony
But not to see suffering of one
Left to leave hell for paradise?
For chroniclers of history
A price to pay:
Cynical memories
Darken the twilight of their lives.
Not for them memorials in stone
Laments and Odes
On one day of the year***
Not theirs the deserved
Eternal glory of the Fallen.

A front-page splash lost after breakfast
TV news bit gone by the next ad.
Does anyone really see
The shutter shots
Does anyone really hear
Does someone really read
Their words of war?

© Kerry White
B Coy 1st Tour

Author Kerry White

* From ‘Bearing Witness: The Lives of War Correspondents and
Photojournalists’, by Denise Leith, Random House 2004.

** from ‘Tommy’ by Rudyard Kipling: “But it's 'thin red line of 'eroes,/
When the drums begin to roll”. — Barrack-Room Ballads, 1889-1891.

Also ‘The Thin Red Line’ (Delta, reprint 1998, by James Jones, the title
apparently from a US military adage: “There’s only a thin red line
between the sane and the mad”.

*** ‘The One Day of the Year’, Alan Seymour, Sydney, Angus & Robertson, 1977.