Anthony W. Pahl


Dear Nancy,

Your Poem, “Can We Afford to Forget” is a synopsis of my dilemma, and I dare say, the dilemma of other war poets. By writing of our experiences, we are permitting the prospect of constant awareness of the horror that we experienced in mind and/or body, to be in our consciousness forever. For does not logic tell us that a trauma forgotten can no longer traumatise us? But logic based on hope is not logic – it is fallacy, but hope based on logic is the stuff of which dreams are made and the future is created.

To write of the horrors of any war – be it a war in the accepted sense of the term, or war against poverty, or war against abuse et al – is the responsibility of those who are willing to dare to record. How would we learn of and from past follies had they not been recorded? Humankind’s nature is to repeat mistakes until the need to test the fact that a fire is hot is no longer required. Unless the incidents of the dreadful burns are recorded in their full and terrible reality, the selective memory of mankind will never progress to feel it unnecessary to test. Stated simply – to forget dooms us to repeat that which is forgotten; to record does not guarantee that past follies will not be repeated, but does at least give us a chance!

I seem to have, lately, become very philosophical (and perhaps somewhat prone to using clichés), and though not uncomfortable with that side of me, I find it very demanding.

Love and best wishes,


Author’s Note: Written to my dear friend, Nancy L. Meek whose poem, “Can We Afford to Forget?” prompted me to look at the reason why I write war Poems. Nancy is an inspiration to me, and a wonderful and talented lady with whom I am proud to be associated and to call a friend. AWP