Young Men And Women Do Volunteer (Nested Landays)

Young men and women do volunteer

To fight for their country to the death, showing no fear


Their orders arrive just as they would

Off they go overseas in the hopes of doing good


Then there’s reality, oh the shock

Our core cultural values, by their ways they do rock


Women are property, used for sex

Sold to the highest bidder, the western mind perplexed


Wanting to react, but told they can’t

They turn a blind eye, though to each other they do rant


Lying in their cots, many tears shed

This war was not what they thought, they have all been misled


Romantic ideas, wars of the past

Live only in the movies there’s no way they could last


War is not romantic, kill and maim

Each victim has a mother and each face has a name


Someones left mourning, crying revenge

Seeking to draw blood, to honor loved ones they avenge


How do pray tell, will this cycle end

When it’s all about oil, our interests they pretend


After a decade, I doubt it will

The military industries haven’t had their fill


When this war ends another will come

Reasoned by our government, just watch and see their fun


Be sure and take my word, more will die

No matter how we complain, no matter how we try


As always, our young will volunteer

Believing propaganda from mongers they will hear


Gung-ho with ideals, noble ‘tis true

Witnessed in commercials they’re the brave, the proud, the few


Til God forbid the time ever comes

You gaze into their eyes, pull the trigger of the gun


From that moment on your life will change

You become a killer, a feeling that must be strange


Hoping that the reasons are pure, true

To live with such an action, the rest of your life through


Mourn for those who died and those alive

They will never be the same no matter how they strive


Mourn this generation raised with war

Think about the reasons, they are poisoned to the core


What kind of legacy will we leave

One that’s draped in death, they are constantly left to grieve


Can this end before it is too late

I pray that it can or destruction will be our fate

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~


NOTE: Origination Afghanistan – a landay has only a few formal properties. Each has twenty-two syllables: nine in the first line, thirteen in the second. The poem ends with the sound “ma” or “na.” Sometimes they rhyme, but more often not. In Pashto, they lilt internally from word to word in a kind of two-line lullaby that belies the sharpness of their content, which is distinctive not only for its beauty, bawdiness, and wit, but also for the piercing ability to articulate a common truth about war, separation, homeland, grief, or love. Within these five main tropes, the couplets express a collective fury, a lament, an earthy joke, a love of home, a longing for the end of separation, a call to arms, all of which frustrate any facile image of a Pashtun woman as nothing but a mute ghost beneath a blue burqa.  The full description and some history of the form can be found at  I took some liberties with this form as it does not translate perfectly into English.  I did maintain the 9 and 13 syllables per line format, but eliminated the “ma” or “na” ending sound requirement opting instead to rhyme which can occur with this form.

23 thoughts on “Young Men And Women Do Volunteer (Nested Landays)

  1. Wow. What an interesting form – read the information at the Poetry Foundation site — very, very interesting indeed. So much potential in this form — and your response explores that potential nicely. It seems like a great form for the “pointed jab” — whether that be political or sensual or otherwise.

    I’m always looking for new forms for BJ’s Shadorma and Beyond — some day I’ll have to share the landay format. Would you mind if I directed people to your site as an example?

    Very nicely done…..

    • I absolutely wouldn’t mind, in fact I would be honored. I too found the form very interesting and needed to change things up a bit. I’m really glad you liked it Jen, that means a lot to me.

      • Oh, I love it — and with Georgia (Bastet) I shared the link and that I’d found the form through you – she was equally impressed with it. We’ll have to add a note saying that there’s possibly sensitive material beyond the link (being a prompt site, you know how it goes) — but really — it’s a stunning form, the way it’s used and how flexible it is, how it allows for such a range of POWERFUL emotion.

        Thanks so much for allowing us to send people to your site — great examples here. I doff my cap! 🙂

  2. Quite something how intricate the poem is , as you know me being a very green poet or wannabe poet I´m constantly reminded of what a looooong way I have yet to go. How you guys manage to do it….beautiful art form Dom great poem. This was quite a departure from what I usually read in your blog. And thank´s for the link.

    The subject matter you wrote about, we did volunteer for that and at that age if you asked anybody of my “bastards” (I call them) the first thing out of their mouth is, if and when were we going to be deployed. No regrets though from all my guys to have done it, maybe a bit crazy or gun ho, or who knows, but I can tell you that the first week there a lot of the guys would get a bit bored after patrolling 12 hours and not pulling that trigger. So yes, I guess it makes you a killer, you kill to save life´s, the guys that are next to you that is. Plus eventually the humanitarian projects come in after you “dispose” off the Marrocans. Couldn´t care less about those Marrocans nor the country to tell you the truth.

    Since the very beginning, in basic training they made it very clear, I remember the priest and hundreds of guys sitting in a room and asking “why are you here for?” he did point to a guy, the guy ” to serve my country” and quite clearly his response was, “you are here to do a job” And that was a priest talking. So at least here in Spain, that glory of serving your country and all that idealistic thing really didn´t come into play for us, which mentally does prepare you a bit more. You get in do your job and hopefully get out. And could care less what happens next.

    • I understand completely Charly, I suppose every country is different and in my case I can only speak for what my son related to me as I never personally served. I think he went in wanting to serve his country and protect our freedoms because that is what our politicians had them believe they were doing, but in the end I don’t know that their missions and sacrifices actually accomplished that. All we did was make people of the region hate us more and view us as crusaders looking to occupy their country. Worst of all I truly believe that the motives behind our military actions have more to do with money and oil than protecting our freedoms. I honestly am not familiar with what the conflict between Spain and Morocco was about (I will take the time to look though), but this is not to say that there aren’t instances where military action, though unfortunate, is necessary. I honestly don’t blame the soldiers for what has happened, I do however blame our politicians for getting us involved in conflicts under false pretenses. By the way, thank you for the nice comment about the form, I appreciate it.

      • Actually the Marocan thing was what we called the Afghan fighters, or “moros” in Spanish, sort of a derrogatory term.
        Spain is completely different, we where proud to wear the flag on our left shoulder, but more than anything else because if gave you a sense of belonging and we where even more prouder of having our batallion insignia, our unit, that was the most proud of.
        I understand some people do feel a sense of serving their country, which all soldiers around the world do, but the reality when you are in those screwed up situations, which you have volunteered to be in, for the adrenaline, the pay, whatever your reasons for joining up, and to tell you the truth most of the guys there, including myself, where there for excitement and a steady pay, a lot of them had criminal records, but they where the best people you can count on when thing really started happening and reality was there in you face.Spanish civilians,half the population don´t care, thirty percent probably doesn´t even know they have a small military and the other twenty percent hate us. Plus we had orders to not travel in uniform when going on leave or getting out of our own base. This is do since Spain is a relatively new democracy started in 1975 and before that we had our cool little dictator who was a fascist, so a lot of the population perceives the military as a threat to the State.
        Going back to soldiering, civilians if they really saw what we did and how we talked about it probably called us barbarians and we would be outcasts, but in that world, in that atmosphere of brutality violence is the norm and you better adapt to that if you want to survive and do your job most importantly. I´ve seen 18 year old kids do incredible things and even me having been and had more experience than an 18 since by 23 you where almost old, I had to say to myself what a pair of “cojones”, just doing their job,by the way here if you want to join you only have to complete up to 8th grade not graduate highschool so that can give you an idea of most of our soldier. I never said I had been in the U.S or did college there since I din´t want to get stuck in other job that wasn´t infantry. And as “professional” soldiers, you know that first is the job, you and your buddies and since you are the one actually doing the dirty, frustrating, uncomfortable work for the government at the time you don´t think about political things you think of your guys and yourself staying alive and completing that mission in the 7 months they gave you to complete it and that´s a proud moment for a soldier when he has achieved that mission. And we just didn´t think about idealistical things, and in my opinion some of the greatest and most competent soldiers where quiet some mischief´s to say the least. But, you do need people like that, because I doubt that most civilians would have a that certain type of mentality when doing and experiencing that job.

        Later on afterwards, you´re a bit older and yes you do think of it, not too much in my case the it would be futile, and the 3 we lost, they and we are damn proud that they went out doing what they wanted and loved. Strange for people to understand that, that´s why I hate sometimes start talking about it since I just ramble on trying to explain what a most civilians never can understand.

        On a lighter not, after all this rambling, I still I´m unable to write what you wrote with those nitty gritty structure. You´re driving me nut´s Dom….but always good to keep learning this art form, i really do admire you guys. It´s a lot a lot of work, never would I though poetry had so many intricacies, but I´m hooked.

      • Charly, please know that I do respect soldiers, I don’t hate them, nor despise what they do when it needs to be done. In fact I am extremely proud of my son and he learned a whole lot by doing what he did. When he volunteered he qualified for every single job the Army offered except for 2 and without hesitation he chose to go into the infantry. His mother didn’t like his choice, but I told her that he had to choose his own path and that it wasn’t our decision. Anyway, thank you for sharing your story as you have first hand experience where I don’t. Keep up the great writing and thank you for the nice compliments, I really appreciate it. Be well my friend and I hope that you are healing nicely and will be back on your feet soon.

      • Better leave the military thing. I won´t bring it up, been some quite a long time since those days and better leave it in the past.

        Appreciate you compliment about “keep up the great writing” Don´t know if it´s great, but it sure is fun and interesting. And it never seems to stop learning from this craft.

  3. “Mourn this generation raised with war
    Think about the reasons, they are poisoned to the core”
    I agree. I joined in 1975 because war was part of us. Today kids taught same lessons and message.

    • I think that they are. My son got out of the Army in March after serving in a combat unit in Afghanistan and all I know is that he could not wait to return home and finish out his enlistment. He has never told his mother or I much, but the few things he did tell us weren’t pleasant. I think the ideals he went over with quickly disappeared once reality set in. Regardless I thank both of you for your service, be well my friend.

  4. Hi Dom! Just a heads-up: the post at BJ’s Shadorma & Beyond (via MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie) will go live on the 14th — 🙂

    Thanks again for introducing this form! 😀

  5. Pingback: BJ’s Shadorma & Beyond – Landay – March 14, 2015 | Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

  6. Pingback: Forty Seven (Landay) | Blog It or Lose It!

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