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Friday, November 15, 2013

ELLEN JAFFE




VIET NAM , August 11, 1966    

11 people die, 187 are wounded
it is a tragedy
because
they are civilian

11 people die, 187 are wounded
it is a victory
because
they are the enemy

11 people die, 187 are wounded
it is an atrocity
because
they are ours

skin off the labels,
taste the darkness beneath
ask a leg if it is civilian
an arm if it is the enemy
an eye if it is ours




Ellen S. Jaffe, published in Crossing Lines: Poets Who Came to Canada in the Vietnam War Era.  Ed. Allan Briesmaster and Steven Michael Berzensky, Seraphim Editions: Hamilton, 2008.
Ellen and Steven talked to Steve Paikin of TVO’s The Agenda about this book in February 2011 as a webcast feature. You can watch the interview, in which Ellen reads this poem, at http://bit.ly/gwR83k

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