Brian Turner's The Calm And Chaos Of War

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The Calm and Chaos of War As you read the works of Brian Turner, you can all but feel the terrors of war engulf you like a black cloud of smoke, the smell of burning fuel, burning metal, burning hopes. You can hear your heart beating in your ears as your finger presses hesitantly against the cool curvature of the trigger, the thought racing through your mind “do I squeeze just a little harder, or will this man live to see another day?” before realizing that this decision is not actually yours to make and you are simply an observer of the fascinating phenomenon of war. The rich imagery and the real emotion captivated in Brian Turner’s writings almost allow you to feel that you have experienced war. In his poem “2000lbs.” we get a brief but intimate…show more content…
bomb in the middle a public square. Just before the bomb is detonated, you are taken into the life of Sefwan, a man reflecting on regrets of a former life and of a love lost. His thoughts are suddenly cut off as “metal shrapnel travel[s] at the speed of sound to open him up” and just like that his life ends “in blood and shock, a man whose last thoughts are of love and wreckage” (stanza 2).Sefwan, though apparently an innocent bystander, is brutally murdered. Turner makes it clear through this depiction that war is an ugly thing. In the same moment Sgt. Ledouix of the National Guard is thrown from his Humvee by the blast. Lying on the asphalt “shrapnel has torn into his ribcage and he will bleed to death in minutes” (stanza 3). Does he deserve this fate? Does anyone deserve such a fate? And yet here he is bleeding to death on a road thousands of miles away from home, because war is an ugly thing. A young couple will never finish their bike ride together as it is tragically terminated by the blast. A civil affairs officer who a moment earlier was blowing bubbles for children finds himself bleeding to death from holes blown in his body. It would be impossible not to notice that Tuner wants us to understand that war is awful thing. And yet in the midst of all the depictions of carnage and gripping despair there is an unexplainable…show more content…
Considering again the situation of Sgt. Ledouix, who as he is breathing some of his last breaths, finds that the world possesses a “certain calm” (stanza 3) and when “he finds himself surrounded by a strange beauty, the shine of light on the broken, a woman’s hand touching his face, tenderly the way his wife might”(stanza 3) we can now better understand what that “certain calm” and the “strange beauty” might be. Turner sees him looking to a better place that he is about to pass into, perhaps somewhere where his wife lovingly waits for him. Looking then to the young couple who are killed in the middle of their afternoon ride, we can better understand the meaning of the manikins used to symbolically represent the couple after their death. “They stood as though husband and wife moment before, who cannot touch one another, who cannot kiss, who now lie together in glass and debris, holding one another in their half-armed embrace” now, like the man who Turner described in his memoir this young couple, held in each other’s embrace, are in “a place that seems more real than home” (memoirs PG). They seem to have found peace in their escape from this violent world. Each of the bloody, tragic scenarios in this poem has just a few lines depicting a peaceful calm in spite of the death and destruction all around, but

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