Dane Gordon
The Logic
of Death
Poems of War

Dane Gordon

(See also Dane's St. Petersburg Poems)

Author's Note

These poems attempt to portray the hidden life of war: small incidents often not noticed in longer accounts.

However technological war may be, it is not fought between technologies. War is between people. I remember watching a television news report of an attacking force shelling a town. Little puffs of smoke rose above the houses where the shells exploded. They looked almost harmless, but wherever a shell exploded it destroyed a home and often the family who lived there. The bland reporting that accompanied the footage was painful to watch.

From the book:

The Logic of Death

When the battle is over
and the field is still
the differences between
those who lie there
are reduced to quiet

They lie (we say) in
That is what they
fought for.
But could it have been
other than by death?
When we ask them
they don't answer.
They are dead.
We are alive.
We can ask ourselves,
perhaps even answer.

But enmeshed in our
self-conflicted life
we do not know.
Could we,
could we leap forward
to the peace of
and bring it back?
Could we carry it in
our arms
like a white figure,
and place it gently
at the heart of
our life?
Then we might live
as if our animosities
were over.
Then we might be
at peace.
Or is the logic of
death the only way
to find what eludes
us in the illogic
of life?

He Tried to do
His Homework

He tried to do his
instead, he drew a
picture of a plane
dropping bombs.
He drew it again
and again.
One of the bombs
killed his grandfather
while he was fetching
water from a well.
The boy drew a plane,
and another,
planes and planes,
and more planes.
The boy loved his
He misses him

A Wrong War

Soldiers will fight
for what they
They will obey orders
for what they don't.
Loyalty is not
indestructible if it
is abused.

Faith is not
unshakeable when
what is believed
fails the believer.

The tragedy of a
wrong war is not
needless destruction
and death.

It is the slash mark
it leaves across
human good.

Born in London, England, Gordon served in the Royal Navy during World War II, received degrees in history, theology, and philosophy from Cambridge University, London University, and the University of Rochester, New York. He taught philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY until he retired.  A Presbyterian minister, Gordon's publications have been primarily in the fields of philosophy and theology.

    The Logic of Death is a 104 page hand-stitched paper book with spine - $16.00

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Dane R. Gordon
Saint Petersburg

From the Book:


The man at the vegetable
stall in the market
laughed so hard at my
clumsy Russian, when
I bought a kilo of
potatoes on my way
home, that he gave
me a five hundred
ruble note in change
for a hundred.
When I gave it back
he stopped laughing.

A Small Consideration

For a small consideration
she could take us in.
We were part of a long
line waiting to enter
the Hermitage.
It would be another half
hour before we got
to the entrance.
Then a lady approached
and spoke (in Russian)
to two students who
were with us.
This lady works at the
Hermitage, they explained.
For a small consideration
she could take us in
My puritan sensibilities
were slightly troubled
but the students were delighted,
so I agreed.
We went in through
a side door, leaving the
long line waiting.

This City is Embraced
by its History

This city is embraced
by its history.
Sometimes the embrace is
gentle, sometimes iron
There are those for whom
the white nights of
St. Petersburg are a halo,
the dark days of winter
a shroud.
These people wonder,
as they try to understand,
what phase of its history
the city is passing through.

Saint Petersburg
is a 60 page hand-sewn book with spine - $12.00


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