World War Zero


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(“The Crimean War is one of the bad jokes of history.” – Philip Guedalla)

𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝  𝐖𝐚𝐫  𝐙𝐞𝐫𝐨

The Ottoman Empire is in decline —

Six hundred thousand men prepare to die.

In Europe noble relatives sip wine —

The Ottoman Empire is in decline.

The nobles fear the Russians wish to dine

On Turkey — they’ll wage war on Nicolai.

The Ottoman Empire is in decline —

Six hundred thousand men prepare to die.

— D.N. O’Brien

Fools Rush In


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Fools Rush In

Into the void now left, (for God is dead),

Flow swiftly, weird beliefs and strange ideas.

To fill the vacuumed space within each head,

Advance the cults and creeds of crazy seers;

Of Eastern mystics, deviants, and queers.

The ancient faith is now consigned to trash,

As rise once more the superstitious fears.

Cathedrals and their icons burn to ash,

As statues of old heroes fall and smash.

But history will warn — so it’s wiped clean,

And those who’d dare remind us feel the lash.

The frightened masses fear to intervene,

As evil men are uplifted and praised,

And massive monuments to madness raised.

— D.N. O’Brien

Brothers in Arms


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𝐁𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬  𝐢𝐧  𝐀𝐫𝐦𝐬

Dark and grim, as winter’s chill

Creeps through the barracks, cold and still,

Where in a dreary dingy room

Four men are gathered in the gloom;

And three, they cast disdainful eyes

Upon the fourth, as he denies

What they see plainly as his guilt;

The evidence of blood he’s spilt —

The scarlet stains upon his clothes,

His swollen hands — his broken nose.

For they have seen each gouge and gash;

Beneath his bed, the stolen cash.

And each has known the man he killed.

And each has known the heart he stilled.

When there’s no question of a doubt,

Swift justice must be carried out.

If not, the killer may walk free;

But judge and jury are the three,

And all are young and wise and strong,

And not a chance their judgement wrong.

And so a gallows is contrived,

Where stands the fighter who’s survived.

His sunken eyes, devoid of hope,

Gaze upward at the hanging rope;

For well he knows, his end is sure —

Condemned by that unwritten law:

That soldiers, since the dawn of time,

Enforce for that unholy crime

Of fratricide by gun or knife —

The taking of a brother’s life.

So the condemned bows to his fate;

For but a second has to wait;

Then crashes on the floor a chair,

And there beneath his feet — but air.

— D.N. O’Brien

A Reasonable God


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A Reasonable God

“So soon belief will end and leave a void;

A godless empty place”, the thinker said.

“When all the faiths that filled it are destroyed,

And all that they stood for is cold and dead.”

And so the writer, with a sense of dread,

Foretold how men would kill their deities.

Would have no need of them — their daily bread

Would still be theirs; there’d be no need to please

Imagined gods; to fall down on their knees

And pray to empty space; was science’s turn

To rule the minds of men. The poles would freeze;

The tides would rise and fall, the sun would burn;

No gods or their fair angels would be missed.

The new God, Science, would rule with an iron fist.

— D.N. O’Brien

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐭 𝐊𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐝𝐨𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡


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𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐭 𝐊𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐝𝐨𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡

Keep us in strict isolation,

And block skeptical information.

Close our borders — lock tight!

But don’t turn out the light!

For we are the terrified nation.

— D.N. O’Brien



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It’s obvious; the split is now too wide.

There is no chance such gaping wounds can heal.

There is no common ground — a stark divide;

No compromise; no way to cut a deal.

But stay united for the common weal?

Forget it — that would surely end in woe.

A separation will a truth reveal —

That old one — all will reap but what they sow.

For one’s intent is high, the other’s low;

And nature’s laws suggest the first will win.

It’s time to end this endless to and fro;

The union must now take it on the chin.

The best outcome would be a swift divorce;

A civil war’s unthinkable of course.

— D.N. O’Brien

𝐀𝐧  𝐇𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐭  𝐎𝐛𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧


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𝐀𝐧  𝐇𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐭  𝐎𝐛𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧

But you are not religious! You don’t pray!

Pray tell us, why then give them your support?

Why for their ancient values have you fought?

Their god you do not worship — nor obey;

Nor do you rest on his most holy day.

Of their god and his book you know but naught!

And yet you say their values must be taught!

Tell us your reasoning! What do you say!

No knowledge of religion do I need,

To see which nations with success are blessed —

Which creed lays down a firm and stable base.

The nations that spring from that common seed,

I have observed — such nations are the best.

True, I am skeptical —but facts I face.

— D.N. O’Brien

𝐀𝐧  𝐈𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐥  𝐃𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡


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𝐀𝐧  𝐈𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐥  𝐃𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡

Times are much like the dying days of Rome.

The parallels are too clear to ignore.

To roost, the chickens are returning home —

Times are much like the dying days of Rome.

That history recorded in the tome,

Of plague, decay, decline, and civil war.

Times are much like the dying days of Rome.

The parallels are too clear to ignore.

— D.N. O’Brien