Losses

General Petraeus, when the death-count of American troops
in Iraq was close to 3,800, said ‘The truth is you never do get
used to losses. There is a kind of bad news vessel with holes,
 
and sometimes it drains, then it fills up, then it empties again’—
leaving, in this particular case, the residue of a long story
involving one soldier who, in the course of his street patrol,
 
tweaked the antenna on the TV in a bar hoping for baseball,
but found instead the snowy picture of men in a circle talking,
all apparently angry and perhaps Jihadists. They turned out to be
 
reciting poetry. ‘My life’, said the interpreter, ‘is like a bag of flour
thrown through wind into empty thorn bushes’. Then ‘No, no’, he said,
correcting himself. ‘Like dust in the wind. Like a hopeless man.’

Andrew Motion, "Losses" from Coming In To Land: Selected Poems 1975—2015.  Copyright © 2017 by Andrew Motion.  Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers Inc..
Source: Coming In To Land: Selected Poems 1975—2015 (HarperColins Publishers Inc., 2017)
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