The Apotheosis of War, poetry by Leah Chrestien at
Vasily Vereshchagin (Apotheosis of War)

The Apotheosis of War

The Apotheosis of War

written by: Leah Chrestien


A pile of human skulls –
tossed into the lonesome wild;
aesthetically unpleasing,
unorthodox to the common eye,
the aftermath of each destructive war
claiming millions of human lives.

Skulls of the same size –
inseparable from one another;
with hollow eyes, empty jaws,
yellow tints and bleached surfaces
are dumped into a no man’s land
and left to rot in the sallow sand.

The stench of death is strong,
the taste of death is bitter,
the vision of death is harrowing,
the idea of death is fearsome,
the touch of death is cold,
and the path to death is painful.

The pile of skulls keeps rising;
friend and foe decompose together
abandoned by their respective sides;
how insignificant must be their deaths
in the grander scheme of things
to the corrupt politicians and evil kings.

The skulls they disintegrate –
while living, they were irrelevant,
their premature deaths are insignificant,
much too commonplace to be honored,
and way too many to be remembered.

There is no more land for burials,
too many young lives are at disposal,
no priests available for religious rituals,
yet, the dark blood flow is continual.

A disturbing pile of skulls
is a signature of cruel conquerors,
the lasting legacy of bloody emperors.

On death, the skulls are abandoned;
on death, they look the same –

disposable pawns of a dirty game.

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