The Influence of Art and War by Ian C. Smith

The Influence of Art and War by Ian C. Smith
In my school’s foyer we marched in below Frans Hals’ Laughing Cavalier.  Thinking he was English, not Dutch, I liked the word Cavalier, and that he found life so amusing.  When I read about the Civil War I wanted the Cavaliers to win.  Who would want to be called a Roundhead?  These pragmatists obviously held no clue to stylish words’ effect, both terms meant as abuse.  I read about this earlier war soon after another war’s end, a war that prevented me from knowing my young uncles, which I resented.  A coke heap, out of bounds, abutted the school fence.  When our football landed on its heights, defied gravity, I risked the crunching charge uphill to retrieve it in that coal tar tang of icy air, imagining I were a gallant marine like my dead uncles.  If I bore an ensign I would have planted it triumphantly, uncaring of avalanche’s likelihood.  I fancied facial hair when I grew up, adding swash to my buckle.  Always skirmishing, a show-off, I smirked cavalierly at authority, costly battles, the hue and cry of years ahead camouflaged by time but for premonition like the tell-tale glinting of sunlight on a sword’s polished blade lying in wait.
Ian C Smith’s work has been published in Antipodes, BBC Radio 4 Sounds, cordite, The Dalhousie Review, Griffith Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Southword, & The Stony Thursday Book.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island.

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