UKArchive



UKArchive ID: 18590Do not shoot the messenger by chrissytotoro
Originally published on February 12, 2007 in Poetry

This was based on a remark made to me by a man who had reported the Viet-Nam war. Any comments welcome.



Do not shoot the messenger

Do not shoot the messenger
for bringing the fish to your table
as it was,
rotten,
stinking
its glazed eyes
no longer seeking compassion
its gaping mouth
drilled with the a cruel hook.

Do not blame the one
who lays your dead
face up,
eyes bulging,
torn skin,
between the gaudy ads
for second-hand Buicks
unused candy striped porch recliners.

Do not lay your demons
at our door.
You sent your children there
to kill
to be killed.
We simply recorded it.
And we have demons enough of our own.

© chrissytotoro (chrissy on OLD UKA)
UKArchive ID: 18590
Archived comments for Do not shoot the messenger
e-griff on 12-02-2007
Do not shoot the messenger
the message here came across very well. I have some doubts about the 'fish' analogy in the first verse, to be honest. Not the dead fish/body thing but the thing about bringing a rotten fish to the table doesn't quite work for me. If someone did that, I would blame them (justifiably I think), wouldn't you?

Few typos: its' (its) ; Bewick (assume Buick, the car not the swan)

Author's Reply:
e-griff, many thanks for reading and commenting and for flagging the typos which I have fixed. Don't think I meant the analogy to be fish/body but fish/the reporting of the war. From what my friend told me it was like the people, Americans, blamed the reporters for reporting what they saw for actually 'telling it like it was' , like they should have cleaned the fish first so that it didn't appear quite so rotten. Think that's what I meant.
Much thanks
chrissy

Gerry on 12-02-2007
Do not shoot the messenger
Chrissy, well done with this. you make the point very well.
That was one terrible war...

Gerry xxx.

Author's Reply:
Gerry, many thanks for reading and commenting.
chrissy

barenib on 12-02-2007
Do not shoot the messenger
An interesting poem - I can't help thinking of Iraq now too, with possibly Iran to come. Of course, some messengers do 'clean up the fish' and maybe they do need shooting. John.

Author's Reply:
John, many thanks for reading and commenting. I think Nam was the first really 'heavily' reported war and I think people got fed up with continually seeing the body bags.
Glad you thought it was interesting.
chrissy

teifii on 13-02-2007
Do not shoot the messenger
Very effective, Chrissy. My first reaction was that the first verse didn't work as I too felt that bringing stinking fish would be blameworthy, but once you realise the metaphor, it works fine on second reading.
Was the last line what the reporter said?
Daff

Author's Reply:
Hi Daff, many thanks for reading and commenting.
The fish thing seemed like a good analogy at the time of writing but maybe it is a bit obscure, needs other references.
There is no one line that is directly attributable to Jack. I based the piece on our general conversation.
chrissy

Sunken on 13-02-2007
Do not shoot the messenger
Hello Ms. Chrissy. I could have sworn I commented on this yesterday. I must have been dreaming again. Anyway, that's not important right now. I think the last line pretty much nails what is already a very strong piece, in my ickul opinion. It's good to see you back on uka.

s
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last in bargain booze

Author's Reply:
Hello Sunk, many thanks for stopping by to read and comment. I'm genuinely pleased you found the piece to your liking and ta for the welcome back.
chrissy

Sunken on 14-02-2007
Do not shoot the messenger
I really am cracking up. I forgot that I had commented and decided to do it now, only to find that I have commented. To be quite frank Ms. Chrissy, I feel a bit daft sitting in your box like this for a second time (-;

s
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lost in inaction

Author's Reply:
Hello again little munky. I'm just sat here listening to Vesti La Giubba and somehow that seems quite appropriate accompaniment to your post.
You're welcome in the box any time.
chrissy
she loves return visitors

orangedream on 15-02-2007
Do not shoot the messenger
I too think that the last line was a realy winner - and the rest of it, of course. For me, the fish analogy worked from the start. A good poem about an abominable war - as they all are.

kind regards
Tina

Author's Reply:
Tina, many thanks for reading, commenting and for the generous rating. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
chrissy

Sunken on 15-02-2007
Do not shoot the messenger
Ahem, sorry Chrissy - I forgot my jacket.

s
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Author's Reply:

Jolen on 09-05-2007
Do not shoot the messenger
Hi Chrissy. I had to read this when I saw the title. I have one called 'don't shoot the messenger' and it's on war, as well.
fine work and I agree, those who cover the war deal with their own demons doing so.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi, Jolen. Many thanks for reading and commenting.
I think, but I can't be sure, that I wrote this in the mid eighties, it was certainly a while after Nam was done and dusted. I'm not sure it's really about 'war' in as much as it doesn't deal with the actual horrors of war but more with the reaction to the reportage, to the daily in your face body count and unrefined photography.
chrissy

jay12 on 04-06-2007
Do not shoot the messenger
Wow, the meaning of this could apply so much to the Iraq war. A lovely, well written and meaningful ditty. I enjoyed it.

Jay.

Author's Reply: