John Brantingham: “Francisco Goya’s The Disasters of War: This Is the Worst”

Francisco Goya's The Disasters of War: This Is the Worst

My dead stand with me before Goya’s piece,
where a wolf conspires with priests to write down
orders for the poor, suffering behind
them. The poor here starve. They beg. They freeze.
The poor are not forgotten, and that’s the trouble
with people who put on frocks and play
at sanctity. It’s the trouble with the way
wolves wait and watch their desperate struggle.
But my dead whisper to me that he’s wrong.
The trouble is also that we think beasts
walk among us, but they’re ordinary
men who have discovered that if you’re strong,
you can have your way with the weak.
We have to tamp down our own cruelty.

About the Author: John Brantingham was Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ first poet laureate. His work has been featured in hundreds of magazines. He has nineteen books of poetry and fiction including his latest, Life: Orange to Pear (Bamboo Dart Press) and Kitkitdizzi (Bamboo Dart Press). He lives in Jamestown, New York.

Image Credit: Francisco Goya, “Esto es lo peor! (This is the worst!)” Public Domain

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