Collateral Damage
1st Runner's UP | Season 6
Author: Kaustubh Nadkarni
Category: Poem

Metallic Eagles and Falcons
release violent droppings
on crowded civilian areas,
unleashing raging infernos
of gunpowder and evil motives.
With blinding flashes and shattered windows,
explosions rip through the city.
The trembling earth witnesses
innocent people and bustling streets
reduce to rubble in seconds.
Unfulfilled dreams and aspirations
go up in toxic smoke.
The chaotic marketplace
is now a cacophony of shrieks.
With deep burns and tinnitus,
a few barely survive-
some scream in despair,
some suffer in silence.

Just moments ago,
in a comforting home
with a backyard full of memories:
Grandpa swayed in his armchair
listening to bygone eras
on the gramophone,
Grandma tightly knit the family
with wool and a warm smile,
while parents watched cartoons
with their beloved princess.
All gone in a matter of moments,
a family tree uprooted,
generations wiped at once.

Just moments ago,
a hospital healed patients
with patience and medications.
The tireless medical staff
injected hope in the creased foreheads
of the family members.
But now, it’s a crumbled mess-
the collapsed hospital
has killed the ones it strived to save.
Hopeful faces turn white
as white coats stain red.
A bleak play of life and death
premieres in the operation theatre.
Some are trapped under debris-
a morgue with living corpses.
Beneath a collapsed labour room,
a mother tightly hugs her newborn,
desperately shielding it
from the horrors of humanity.

The Military is the puppet of a hidden beast
drunk with power and endless wealth,
their deceit embroidered on silken lies.
Violence is amplified strategically
in the kaleidoscope of geopolitics,
by hiding pieces of the jumbled jigsaw.
The calibre of rifles and machine guns
should taint the person’s calibre,
but their red carpets soak the red stains
and keep their record spotless.

The dust slowly settles
and reveals senseless carnage.
Horrific memories etched forever
on tender minds and wrinkled wisdom.
Eyelids quiver with the burden of sorrow
as screams of terror play in a loop.
War mirrors raW wounds,
smouldering beneath scabs
of perennial violence.
Bitter tears leave permanent streaks
on bloodstained faces,
yearning for the past
as the future looks bleak.

The viral news breaches borders
with a hint of truth and a tinge of propaganda-
a fangless cobra with neurotoxic venom
controlling the minds of the masses.
You carefully peel layers of misinformation
braving the acid tears,
but the onions of opinions are rotten.

Multinational rescue teams rush
to preserve traces of humanity,
searching night and day
for a few fleeting moments of warmth
beneath the cold concrete.
Borders blur, differences disappear,
compassion unites countries,
showing all human beings
the significance of being human.

The quest for conquest never ceases
so let violent weapons rust
and weary souls rest,
Let precious peace permeate
the dark dungeon of memories.
Calm the mind that still wanders
like a restless tongue prods a canker sore.
Let time tenderly dull the pain
within healing hearts.
Let family trees regrow deep roots
in the local communities.
War results in pieces, not peace.
Allow rays of humanity
through stained glass
with a glint of hope.

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4 Responses

  1. Very powerful poem! I loved the creative use of metaphors! This is one of the best poems I’ve read so far that tells such a compelling story of a current situation with such a rich use of imagery. Well deserved winning entry 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 Congratulations Kaustubh!

  2. Quite well written & vivid! The creativity is palpable through the masterful usage of metaphors that brings to life the imagery of a war torn nation very effectively. The theme is relevant to what many countries of the globe are dealing right now with! Hopefully such brilliant pieces of arts will remind us of the pain & devastation of the wars that cause damage to innocents on all the sides equally! Congrats.

  3. Hearty congratulations, Kaustubh. Your poem is really an excellent eye opener to all the countries who are at present at war and also those who are needlessly supporting them, only for their ulterior motives. I too strongly believe that the world needs a choice and a chance, to live and flourish rather than die and perish…
    Very well composed poem, Kaustubh… we are proud of you 👏 🥰

  4. Very intensely phrased Kaustubh 👏 unfortunately it’s only the human race which chooses ego over hunger , power over compassion.

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