• Marian Glaser


Updated: Oct 1, 2018

By Marian Glaser ©, July 2011


I was puzzled as a peace marshal

in nineteen sixty-five.

A mass of marchers turned out.

Clearly ‘peace’ meant

“Stop this war with Vietnam.” to them.

To me it meant

realizing war was evil, sanctioned murder,

yet we used the same word, were part of the march

and thought we communicated.


I had seen some of the aftermath as a child:

an uncle never met because he

starved during war-induced famine;

rubble to play in and find toys

played with last by dead, bombed children;

newspapers filled with articles about

ditched war planes found when

the Zuider Zee was drained;

barbed-wire-marked dunes

not yet swept for land mines.


At nine months I was part of the column of refugees

leaving Arnhem and shot at by friendly fire;

at two I was too young to understand why my mother

had a nervous breakdown after visiting a Jewish friend

who was crying over a telegram informing her

that another family of her relatives had died;

a trip to the zoo ended in nightmare when cage after cage

bore a notice that the animal had died during the famine;

war horror stories rivaled bluebeard.

and never ended with ‘They lived happily ever after.’


That is a small part of my story. Bad enough :

but it cannot rival that of an eight year-old

confronted with the choice of being shot dead

or shooting his father and mother and

becoming a child soldier.

I have irritations in this chronic care hospital but

none of the order of "Will that bomb

fall on us?" or "Will my husband/brother/son

come home in a body bag or crippled

mentally or physically?"


I could only write this

in this shelter of age and peace,

far from war in time and space,

content to let younger energies form

protest groups, discuss vehemently.

I feel as strongly as ever but

want to use my remaining



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