The Opera of War by Jez Swateridge

14 Feb

vietnam_war

Jez was given the brief to write about the beauty in something ugly. This is what he wrote:

Most people think there is no beauty in war. Bloodshed all around, gunshots, grenade explosions and screams. The sight of families, torn apart. My Sargent shouts “we are going to make a run for the camp, cover me!” and then he runs. I see him shot in front of me. He falls like a stone, a dead weight. I don’t think there’s any way he could survive. I don’t know how to feel, I need to tell his wife but I don’t know how to find her. The air feels cold. My hands were frozen. I looked at my friend and we looked at the Sargent. I was second in command and all of a sudden all the responsibility was on me. I panicked and we just fled.
As I ran, the air rushed past my ears and I heard something I had never heard before. It’s Music? Sort of like opera it sounded, rang through my ears like: dossdossssdo ssss bang bang boom itsss.
Helicopter blades whirl and whizz, people shout and scream, making harmonies. Gun shots sound like bass drums and thunder through my body. Shells dropping from the helicopter sound like a cymbal crashing and echoing around me. Bullets whizzing past my ears sound like the high notes of a soaring violin solo. The sound of children crying softly as they see their home destroyed was like a gentle harp gently placed over the thumping of the tank as it rolled past. I am so shocked – it sounds brilliant but it’s not at all what war is supposed to be like – it’s the beauty of war if it’s not too selfish or mad to think that. We get heli-lifited back to base, we are so shell shocked to know that Sarg is dead! That song I heard will never leave my ears, it was like the funeral song he never had.

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One Response to “The Opera of War by Jez Swateridge”

  1. 11SL February 15, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    We like the use of the simile and descriptive language – really moving

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