War & Poetry

We all admit that war is a bad thing, but let us also concede that pitching a battle has the merit, from time to time, of bringing forth good poetry. Is there some communion between the two?

I don’t mean, of course, that the literary possibilities offered by the prospect of combat are normally computed in the casus belli. It is not as though Agamemnon and his friends, conferring on a recent affront from the Trojans, turned at length to a poet sitting over in the corner and asked, “Well, what about it, Homer? If we go lay siege to Troy, do you think you could do a thing or two with it?”

Nor is it reasonable to suppose that one of the commanders at Balaclava, . . .

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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).

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