No Monkee Business

by Timothy Lusch

Not That Davy Jones!

In Parenthesis by David Jones 

No I did not just get off the last train to Clarksville. This David Jones preceded the Monkees. David Jones was a poet, painter, and engraver. The art of his life and his life in art were singularly colored by his experience in The Great War. Of all the War Poets, Jones spent the most time at the front. He fought in the major battles of the war and was severely wounded at the Somme, an experience he captures poetically in the quote below. But as Peter Salmon observes, Jones differs from Owen, Sassoon, and others in that he describes the experience of war rather than judging it. Both approaches have literary and poetic validity, but Jones’s poetry, while complex and laden with historical and mythical heft, is richer. As Jones said, “I have only tried to make a shape in words, using as data the complex of sights, sounds, fears, hopes, apprehensions, smells, things exterior and interior, the landscape and paraphernalia of that singular time and of those particular men.” In the verse below, Jones speaks to a consequence of war (people die and are wounded) but speaks specifically to the profoundly modern experience of humanity being reduced or destroyed by technology that far exceeds what is necessary to kill. Somehow he captures the hubris and humility in all of us.

“He thought it disproportionate in its violence considering the fragility of us.”