The Influence of Art and War by Ian C. Smith

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The Influence of Art and War by Ian C. Smith
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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.
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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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