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Since 1996 Volume XXI

Salvatore Buttaci

Since retiring from teaching in 2007, Salvatore Buttaci writes everyday. His poems, stories, letters, articles, and blogs have appeared in The New York Times, Cats Magazine, The National Enquirer, and many other publications. Author of flash and poetry collections, he lives with his wife Sharon in West Virginia.



He who fights with monsters might take care

lest he thereby become a monster.  And if you

Gaze for long into an abyss,

The abyss gazes also into you.


--Frederick Nietzsche

“Beyond Good and Evil”



We send each young man

Into the conflagration of war.

We call him our nation’s hero.

We proudly see him in the fabric

Of the flag which we salute.

We send him off to countries where

He must kill our enemies

Who have been sent by their leaders

To leave him lying in death’s stare.

He who fights with monsters might take care.


We send our young hero,

Not yet a man, into the horror show

Of war. He offers up his life

For the greater good, the voice of reason

Silenced by the need to preserve freedom,

And for this he leaves all he knew,

Unsure if he will return again

To the joys of family and youth.

He tries to keep clear all he must do,

Lest he thereby become a monster.  And if you


For one second believe this an easy chore

For him, think again! You in the comfort

Of your homes, you who kiss your children

Good night, rest yourselves in warm beds,

Wake to the silence of a brand new dawn,

You who take for granted all the bliss

Civilian life affords you, can hardly see

The blood and guts of the battlefield.

Only soldiers marching through war’s mist

Gaze for long into an abyss.


Why are we surprised when veterans of war

Return home with issues unresolved?

We read sometimes a hero goes mad

And opens fire on a crowd of innocents.

“He earned the Purple Heart,” they say.

“How could he do this, out of the blue?”

You cannot train a man to kill, then expect

Him to forget, though they all try.

To you who praise war, take this cue:

The abyss gazes also into you.



© Copyright, Salvatore Buttaci.
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