The Troops of General Discontent

The Arabic "N" for "Nasara" or "Nazarene"

The Arabic “N” for “Nasara” or “Nazarene”

Came across a poem I wrote on Valentine’s Day 1981, which is really ironic when you see the content. I was 18 years old and a senior in high school. I have a few things to say and please bear with me, but first the poem:

The Troops of General Discontent

by MJ O’Leary 1981

Amassed upon the northern hill,

in battle gear and dressed to kill,

make no mistake as to the intent

of the troops of General Discontent.

In spotless garb the troops assemble,

a sight to make the enemy tremble.

While waiting for the order to fire

the General’s troops will never tire.

Among the troops gathered there

are Major Offense and Private Affair.

Corporal Punishment is there to see

that discipline’s maintained properly.

All is quiet, the troops stand ready.

Each sword is held high and steady.

The canons are all loaded and waiting.

There’s no time left for negotiating.

The order comes and the canons roar,

the start of another bloody war.

Swords pointed at sister and brother,

they’ve turned their weapons on each other.

Never to kill, but only to maim,

and give somebody else the blame.

The troops will retire at dusk and then

they’ll wake in the morning to war again.

I’ve mentioned in other posts that I write stories for children because stories were my means of escape as a child.  I don’t care to discuss the abuse I lived with. I will say that the physical abuse stopped the day I realized I had grown taller than my primary abuser and slammed that person into a wall.  The emotional and psychological abuse, however, continued.  This poem reflected my perception of my always-at-war family and the crushing stress I lived under.  I used reading, and then writing, to deal with my situation.  But today my thoughts are with those who have neither books nor hope.

In the last 13 years, our world has grown more dangerous and vicious than it has ever been in mankind’s history. War seems to be everywhere at once.  The ability to kill large numbers of people, and the hellish desire to do it, is unprecedented.  It won’t take long for the tally of dead to exceed man’s earlier accomplishments.  As is always the case in war, children are suffering the worst of it.  Taken on Jihad by his father, a little Australian boy struggles, using two little hands, to hold up the decapitated head of a man. It looks so heavy.  Parents are murdered in front of their children.  Children are beheaded or crucified by ISIS thugs. Little girls are brutally raped–some too young to even understand what is being done to them. They only know it hurts and they feel ashamed.  Christians find the Arabic letter “N” painted on their homes. It stands for “Nasara” which means “Nazarene”.  Unwilling to convert, they are forced to flee their homes or die. Many have done both, never making it to safety.

For these children, there are no bedtime stories. There are no picture books to disappear into.  There is no concept of a different place or a different way of living.  In their world, evil always triumphs.  Evil that calls itself good.  Evil that calls itself godly.

I want to gather these children around me and tell them, “Once upon a time…”


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Crazy Crone
    Sep 14, 2014 @ 15:35:15

    A very powerful, timely post, great writing.


  2. Maribeth
    Sep 22, 2014 @ 15:26:01

    Wow this was a powerful post. I worry that the security I try to provide my children with will be taken from them one day because of the evils of this world. I cherish their innocence and quiver at the thought of them having I see that evil face to face. God bless all the little children who face those evils and abuse. I’m with you I’d love to call them over and sit in the middle while they listened to a story that took all thief fears away if only for a moment.

    Great post.



  3. theamazingmj
    Sep 25, 2014 @ 13:21:09

    Beautiful. I love your writing. I’m glad you found my blog.


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