Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 387

For today’s prompt, write a one poem. Not write one poem, though it’s totally fine to write one poem, but a poem that plays with the number one or concept of one. For instance, a poem about doing something one more (or less–or last) time; a poem about one person, one thing, one moment. Or if you’re into math, reduce a poem down to one syllable (see the nonet poetic form). There’s definitely more than one way to come at this one prompt.

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Here’s my attempt at a One poem:

“One Life”

One life on this one planet
is the one thing we all get,
so I live my only life
as if already in debt,

because one thing we all know
is the one end to this show,
so I live facing my death
steering how I want to go,

though some always live in strife
I’ll cut hate out with a knife,
claiming this one life I get–
and pray for an afterlife.

*****

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). And he treats every poem as if it might be the last one.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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133 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 387

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    one day
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    one day
    i will climb the abyss.

    i will arise from this primordial ooze that has
    kept me safe, and yet, a prisoner all these years.

    i will reach for the freeing light above me
    where the waters are much calmer,

    unafraid to trade bubbles of gas and silt
    for the uncertainty of sea foam and filtered light,

    one day
    just not today.

    © 2017 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Yurii

    As much as I could love you ~

    This is a poem of one.

    If I could just love you,
    One more ounce,
    Enough for you to believe.

    I held you,
    If only it were once more,
    You’d know I bathe in the rejected compassion, confused and contested.

    I’ve wish to know you,
    One more question,
    Maybe I’d understand the barbarity of your decision.

    Gloomy emotion never condensated,
    Floating just above my hair,
    One less smile,
    Embracing one more tireless tear,
    You’d still be mine.

    You left,
    My breath vacuumed into the wind,
    The sweet air indicting my cold cheeks,
    One more word,
    And I’d never lose the three I cherished most.

    I love you,
    One. More. Time.
    And I wouldn’t be sad today.

    As much as I could love you,
    And in that moment,
    I choose,
    Just. One. Less.

    I could love you,
    But there is no more than the one less,
    Gone.

    As much as I could love you,
    I could love you one less,
    But now,
    I love you one more.

  3. IamMist

    One
    I go out as one.
    I am here and I am many.
    Connected to all, unknown.
    I smile, I laugh, I dance.
    One…of many.
    And then there are two,
    and I am one.
    I smile, I laugh, I dance.
    And the second is there,
    smiling, laughing, dancing.
    and I know that I am one,
    and there is no room for a second.
    I am small, but I am one.

  4. Bushkill

    I wrote the week’s prompts for poem and short story together. So there is a rainbow in here as well, but at its heart, it is about a man, alone…

    Warriors Lament

    The rain falls in wind-driven waves and beats
    Upon the sand, washing the stain of hard-
    Fought battle from the surface of blood-red
    Earth. For who? For what? This war rages on.
    And when I, in this evil twist of fate
    Find a moment to fill with naught but the
    Sound of silence.
    I do.
    Just that.
    And let
    The pounding of the rain mix/blend with the
    Pounding of my heart. Let it wash over
    Me like a baptismal fount and leave me
    Pure and clean. Let it wash the dirt and grime
    From my face, my hands, my arms. Let the cold
    Rain douse the fire that rages in my
    Soul. Free my body, well washed in heaven’s
    Blessing and rid of crimson stain. Except
    For the tears streaked in mud and dried blood and
    Baked by an unrelenting sun that burned
    As harsh as the day’s fighting. Baked dry long
    Before the clouds gathered to storm at me
    In aerial anger. These doubt bringing
    Harbingers of my oft’ tortured soul. Shade
    Bringers, too, shade from the scalding light that
    Shines on such brutality. A light that
    Scalds the harsh memories into blasted
    Dreamscapes. My sword is now sheathed, buried deep
    In its scabbard. The soul stealing steel has
    Drunk its fill of life and lies ready for
    The call. And I wonder, I wonder where
    My soul is. Stolen by the haunted eyes
    Of the dead and dying? Is it waiting,
    Stuck behind this carrion host of lost
    Loved ones? The sky, black as widow’s veil, casts
    A pall to the recent carnage and the
    Earth’s winged creatures sally forth for their share
    Of the battle’s fruits. Tainted and bitter
    Fruits they must be, having rot in the sun
    All day. Rain, merciful rain, drive these thoughts
    From my head. Let me be complete again,
    A man of promise and virtue, a friend,
    A lover. Where, dear God, did such men go?
    Now, some time later, after the sins of
    The flesh and the scourging of the rain. In
    The peace that follows the storm, painted in
    The cold mist after the rain, comes heaven’s
    Answer with arcing brilliance. Hues with such
    Majesty and prismatic glory shine
    Upon your face at peace, upturned to the
    Sky your mortal race run. My comrade, my
    Friend, what a treasure you were in this life.
    And now, in death, you anchor heaven’s path,
    A rainbow of color to beyond. Look
    For me, my friend. My wound draws an end to
    Me here as well. I am but one, alone
    And alive on this beach of death and I
    Would not tarry overmuch in Death’s view.

    1. ppfautsch24

      One More Time
      One moment
      One touch
      One look
      At me
      Once upon a time
      One kiss
      For me
      One heart
      One love
      To be
      One instance
      One movement
      From you
      One dance
      Once in a lifetime
      With you
      One more time
      One us
      A chance at love
      Once more
      By Pamelap

  5. taylor graham

    ONE OF ITS KIND

    So small an item, just a scrap of it left
    from the mid-1930s, can hardly call it a family
    heirloom. Forgotten over the years, then

    discovered in an attic, or corner of a shed, who
    knows. But a woman spent so many hours
    tatting, they say, or crocheting, others insist.

    She’s been dead a long time. All we have
    is a photo of a scrap, a bit of fancywork, lacy
    white on evening-sky blue (the exact shade

    of sky past gloaming is uncertain as well).
    Our night skies are different now, with urban
    light pollution; outgassing of synthetic fibers –

    can you call them fibers, if they don’t come
    from the land? – floating toxic in the air.
    The world has changed since that woman plied

    her needles or hooks or whatever, working
    natural fibers – wool or cotton – paying such
    attention to every stitch or knot, to create

    a table runner, or however it was used
    in the household. We only have a scrap – photo
    of a scrap. So lovely, but what to call it?

  6. angieinspired

    i’m dealing with myself

    not that I already haven’t
    but one thing I know is true
    to forget what lies behind
    and to look … oh, oh, oh,
    to [ s – t – r – a – i – n ]
    towards what lies before me

    for you i count, for you i
    number my days, for you i wait
    for you to say, i must not forget
    this one thing; a day is like
    a thousand years, and a thousand
    years is like a day, – so, say

  7. JRSimmang

    Midnight Train to Nowhereland

    Just one more day, and I’ll be tucked in.
    He always knows which stories to spin.
    Knights and dragons, storms that rage on,
    giants and lions, and devilish grins.

    Just one day more, and he’ll tell me, “Son,
    awesome job on that baseball game you won.
    Let’s go get ice cream.” I’ll finally dream
    in the gleam of the brilliant moonlight undone.

    One more day, he says, and it’ll seem,
    like the past few years have been a scream
    of time and space, where the story lost its place,
    and a dreadful race down the memory stream.

    One more day, and we’ll be staring face to face.
    He’ll be waiting at the door with his leather briefcase.
    A doorbell ring, and my heart will sing;
    I knew the winds would bring him back with grace.

    He’ll be just one day more, that’s what he said.
    He’ll be just one more day, that’s what he said.

    -JR Simmang

  8. Jane Shlensky

    One Time

    “One time we went fishing at Dobbs’ pond.”
    He starts each story the same.
    One time, almost once upon a time,
    as much imagination as fact,
    myth in the making.

    I ask him if he ever repeats an action,
    maybe three times or a dozen.
    He blinks, confused, and says,
    “Yeah, lots of times we fished
    at that pond, but I’m talking about
    this ONE time. That happened once.”

  9. Jane Shlensky

    To a Lone Goose in the Horse Pasture

    So he returns to us after seasonal migration’s
    adventure and peril, a solitary goose among horses.
    He honks against fate, building a nest
    out of habit on a lip of pond,
    calling for his mate,
    calling, calling,
    and waiting for
    something
    of flight
    to settle.

  10. RuthieShev

    One Day
    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    One day I hope to see the face
    Of the One Person who died for me
    So that I can live my one life
    Forever in the one great place
    With the greatest One of all
    Thanks be to our One God

  11. grcran

    One More Round

    One’s chemo runs its course
    One hopes it does
    Bad poison coursing through
    Venomous veins
    Or in the skin one’s cream
    Attacking banes
    One’s tumored derm rumoured
    Sans extra skuzz

    One’s cancer on the run
    Mutated cells
    All dead and dying dis-
    Posed outta here
    One finishes one’s treat-
    Ment then to fear
    One must begin another
    Round of hells

    gpr crane

  12. mayboy

    SEAHORSE

    The ocean embraces
    all kinds of life, from the depths
    to the surface of the daylight steps.
    The seahorse brings new life,
    she and he are not the only one.

    One letter, one word
    is enough, from me to you
    to expand the variety of mind.
    The existence of the human kind
    means the plural all around.

    The row of the letters,
    lines align, from verbs to forms
    of design in the nest of artists I.
    I am not the only one; I need You
    to drift my flow, then the job is done.

  13. Arash

    The Only One
    by Arash

    A mountain of rice, many peaks of saffron,
    myriad skewers of ground lamb kebab
    with basil, sumac, wrapped in sangak,
    with barbequed tomatoes. For dessert
    black mulberries and everyone’s favorite:
    ruby seeds, freed of skin and pulp,
    garnished with Persian hogweed.
    Then sholezard, sohan, and halva.
    A child’s hand reaches for tahdig
    It’s painted red. She’s almost six.
    Her searching eyes see things blurry.
    The little girl’s the only one there.
    Outside the home in the heavy rain
    an age-old argument has broken out,
    someone has been shamed, another
    disrespected, a young woman blames
    her own kind heart, a fat man mumbles
    something to God looking at the moon,
    a boy shouts something insulting
    to his cousin, for no reason either.
    An old woman urges all to whisper.
    A quiet man with a thick mustache
    bends over, starts to cry then blubber.
    There inside a little girl is reaching
    for tahdig, for food, for something.

  14. qbit

    Standing in darkness
    Before a pool of water lilies –
    Lamplight shadows
    For company,
    And some coins in your hand
    To toss for good luck.

    One last prayer
    Might be all you have
    Before you go.

    No promise
    Of miracles.
    No way to know if
    Only you
    Will hear.

    You could finally answer
    To what your life
    Was made of:
    How much was Love,
    Or Fear,
    Or Duty.

    But you already
    know that,
    Don’t you?

  15. G.Wood

    One Eyelash

    Found cotton rounds in a drawer we missed
    and tucked them into my makeup bag
    because she doesn’t need them anymore,
    and I’m practical. My inner voice, my will,
    says, “Don’t be stupid or emotional,”
    but it never says, “Be still.”

    And later, I buttered my eyelids with cold cream
    and reached for a round to remove the grime
    but stopped when I noticed an eyelash,
    one eyelash, lying on the quilted side.

    I saved the eyelash in a jewelry box
    that the tooth fairy brought me years ago
    when she forgot to show for a couple of nights
    and wanted to make things right, even though
    she knew I wasn’t a believer.

    She kept all my teeth in a tiny box,
    a piece-of-her-baby to treasure,
    an intimate memento saved for me,
    a velvet-lined clamshell full of pearly teeth.

    Sometimes I think she comes in my room
    and stands lovingly over me,
    drifts into my dreamy, deep sea diving,
    languishes with me in the grinding of grief.

    So I save the tooth fairy’s eyelash,
    a feeble offering meant to summon her to me,
    an invitation to wade on the shore of my doubt
    until I surface, be still, and believe.

  16. AsWritten

    ONE TRICK by Ken Bentz

    Close your eyes and pick a card.
    Study it.
    Don’t forget it.
    Now go to war.
    Drink piss-water.
    Cry a little.
    Watch your friends age.
    Die a little each day.
    Get sick.
    Dream of how different things could have been.
    Now, who the hell cares what your card was?

  17. SarahLeaSales

    Margo’s Mitosis

    “The smallest minority on earth is the individual.” –Ayn Rand

    One cell.
    One birth.
    One rebirth.

    One body.
    Two purposes.
    Birthed three.

    One heart.
    Two loves.
    Three lessons.

    One mind.
    Two sides.
    Three changes.

    One death.
    One destination.
    A multitude of legacies.

    The Power of One.

  18. grcran

    Two Way Door

    One bad way to close a door is slam
    The wham bam no sir thank you ma’am
    No door jamb nor self-respect
    -ing clam needs clamor or
    sham glamour. Doors shut.
    Then one more door
    Opens wide
    Shazam
    Shush

    gpr crane

  19. Anthony94

    Test Run

    One mockingbird sits the highest
    limb of the young maple, returned
    from some denser woodland to
    test the wind, the camaraderie
    beneath the feeders. No cart
    wheeling yet above the barn
    ridgepole but just this tentative
    foray, a place to test the angle
    of the sun from a favorite cedar
    or tug at a twist of blue yarn
    floated in among the branches.

  20. E.C

    One day

    It’s getting harder, things are dimmer, it’s not easy anymore.
    But, one day.
    My ears ache to hear him again, why did he have to leave so soon?
    One day, soon.
    How long has it been? What does his face look like?
    Where is my one day?
    Today they bury me. The smell of summer dirt reminds me of him.
    One day, lost.

  21. candy

    Onsies

    a tiny silver time-machine
    recovered from a drawer
    transports me to a school
    playground –
    onsies, twosies, threesies
    little girls sitting in a circle
    no worries except
    making it to tensies
    where are they now
    do they remember
    playing ‘jacks’ at recess
    or are they too worried about
    grown-up games

  22. DMK

    power of one
    by Dawn Kvernenes

    one kite
    one flight
    one fright
    one light
    one fight
    one knight
    one night
    one delight
    one memory sight
    one eternity plight
    one might
    one might

  23. taylor graham

    WHAT WAS IT

    The wings that passed their shadow
    across our grassy slope and left that moving dark
    among oaks inside the treeline
    where it merged with shades of branches just
    budding, not yet out-leafing, early March –

    one bird if it was a bird too high for field-marks,
    too soon gone like the malleable green
    of chickweed, miner’s lettuce
    and grasses of not-yet-spring that soon turn
    brown and brittle, flammable by June

    so we curse Foxtail and Ripgut Brome –
    but now in almost-spring still soft, green,
    nameless as one bird flown, until leaf by grass-
    leaf they branch and strut their stems,
    asserting awns to seed the world.

    I don’t worry about one unidentified flying
    object overhead (bird?), already gone. I worry
    about the grasses, aliens who invaded us
    hundreds of years ago; now settled, rooting
    everywhere, ruling us from below.

  24. De Jackson

    (l)only poem

    this poem is all by its lone
    -some self,
    some semblance of assem
    -bled phrases on a shelf.
    in a void. annoyed.

    this poem is a single
    sigh
    -lent scream, a scene
    from a one
    -act play with no
    supporting cast. a blast
    of air. a sole
    and solitary song.

    one
    (lone) crow,
    awaiting murder.

    ::

  25. De Jackson

    Functions & Fabrications

    “though life’s lived wrongsideout,sameness chokes oneness”
    – E.E. Cummings

    It’s the (l)oneliness that gets you,
    the only-ness. The lack
    of all,
    the fall. The up
    -side
          d(r)owning.

    Enough
    to make you
    forget you are
                a sing
    -ular sensation.
    A snowflake. Or a
    star.

    ::

  26. headintheclouds87

    One Day

    One day we’ll wake up
    With a clear plan in mind
    To conquer days yet to come;
    To tackle the trials of tomorrow,
    The worries of coming weeks,
    Nagging concerns of next month,
    Crippling fears for future years,
    And only one lifetime to prepare.
    Eventually, it all comes together
    In a time span not entirely clear,
    So we wait for the elusive date
    In which we awake content
    And free from this frenzied state,
    One day.

  27. PowerUnit

    The Brier

    The house was full of rocks
    four yellow suns
    but the heart of the home
    the living room and kitchen, pick one
    sat empty and bare
    lights on
    side door open
    the Red invasion inevitably
    sitting in the big chair
    buttoned up
    watching television, with a cold beer
    waiting for the eviction
    that never came.

    A steal of one.

  28. Michelle Hed

    Only You

    If I only had one cookie,
    one dollar,
    one dime,
    I would share them all with you.

    If I could only hold one hand,
    have one more kiss,
    one more snuggle,
    I would want those to be with you.

    If I could only wake up to one person,
    share a smile,
    a glance,
    I would want to share those with you.

    If I could only talk to one person,
    write to one person,
    laugh with one person,
    I would want that person to be you.

    If I had only one tear to shed,
    one last touch,
    one more breath,
    I would give them all to you…
    because for me,
    there is
    only you.

  29. carolemt87

    The Meaning of One

    On this bright day sitting
    on a rock ledge in the middle
    of the Niobrara River
    warm breeze blowing over freckled skin. I lean back into the water and let the cool river flow all around me and my hands become the soft rain falling over the rocks, silver fish darting in clear streams, green fronds anchoring under gravel bed where I feel the pulse of the earth; I feel the tides ebb and flow, moonrise and sunset, where crystalline music trickles between my fingers and my eyes become sunlight and moonshadow, lightning and fire, hoarfrost and hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanoes, flood and drought, where my breath blows quietly between the distant stars, whispers across polar ice, sizzles across the scorching desert, moist between the mossy jungle trees when my bones melt into my ancestors and remnants of dinosaurs, tiny creatures incased in mud and tar, fossils buried at the bottom of ancient seas, where the surface of my skin becomes glacier scratched and lava scarred, where at last my soul feels the spinning of this beautiful blue planet, this tiny jewel twirling in the cosmos, millennia upon millennia, circle upon circle, spinning backward forward to meet me in the cool water
    on this bright day sitting
    on a rock ledge
    in the middle
    of the Niobrara River.

    Carol J Carpenter

  30. Walter J Wojtanik

    SIXTY-ONE MILES YOUNG

    Every year is a fork in the road.
    You swear you don’t feel old,
    but your feet are tread worn
    and you’d have sworn
    you had more gas in the tank.
    You have gravity to thank,
    or Karma,
    or “Big Pharma”
    for getting you this far.
    Were you a car they’d have
    traded you in for a sleek,
    and speedy thing, but it would be
    a greedy thing to make material
    things your sole desire.
    There’s still a fire in the hearth
    and nowhere on earth you’d rather be
    than the road you’re currently on.
    Your GPS is gone and your drive
    is just staying alive and avoiding
    any more detours along your journey.
    And you yearn for just one more
    mile to make you smile (and go
    in style) while on the way!

    © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2017

  31. carolemt87

    The Meaning of One

    On this bright day sitting
    on a rock ledge in the middle
    of the Niobrara River
    warm breeze blowing over freckled skin. I lean back into the water and
    let the cool river flow all around me and my hands become the soft rain falling over the rocks, silver fish darting in clear streams, green fronds anchoring under gravel bed where I feel the pulse of the earth;
    I feel the tides ebb and flow, moonrise and sunset, where crystalline music trickles between my fingers and my eyes become sunlight and moonshadow,
    lightning and fire, hoarfrost and hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanoes,
    flood and drought, where my breath blows quietly between the distant stars, whispers across polar ice, sizzles across the scorching desert,
    moist between the mossy jungle trees when my bones melt into my ancestors
    and remnants of dinosaurs, tiny creatures incased in mud and tar,
    fossils buried at the bottom of ancient seas, where the surface of my skin becomes glacier scratched and lava scarred, where at last my soul feels the spinning of this beautiful blue planet, this tiny jewel twirling in the cosmos, millennia upon millennia, circle upon circle, spinning backward forward to meet me in the cool water
    on this bright day sitting
    on a rock ledge
    in the middle
    of the Niobrara River.

  32. Walter J Wojtanik

    I HAVE ONE, ONLY BIGGER

    I always found words fascinating.
    Whether debating the designated hitter
    or tossing bitter barbs at rubes
    who choose to question my side.
    I take pride in the aplomb I’ve amassed,
    for I have surpassed the vocabulary
    I once thought scary in the day.
    I must say it has grown. It has shown me
    new ways of expressing what I’ve been
    guessing had been on my mind.
    I find my thesaurus a great tool,
    and I never fool with my dictionary.
    It feeds my vocabulary.
    I have one, only bigger!

    © Walter J. Wojtanik

  33. Uma

    One moment is all it takes
    for the scales to fall
    from unseeing eyes
    Like a snake moulting
    you shed the skin
    of countless lies
    masquerading as the truth

    Finally you strip
    from your bones
    the pretence of the person
    you never were
    a role you played for so long
    you never realised
    when make-believe
    became true
    burying the real you
    under a life you fashioned
    out of a lie

    But that one moment
    set you free
    One moment creating
    the divide between
    who you thought
    you were
    and who you can, at last,
    let yourself be

  34. Walter J Wojtanik

    I HAVE ONE COOKIE

    I have one cookie.
    It is chocolate chip.
    I wish that it weren’t.
    I’d rather it was a mud pie,
    or tree bark.
    Oatmeal raisin does it for me.
    I have one cookie.
    It’s not one of those.

    © Walter J. Wojtanik

  35. barbara_y

    One Leaf

    One leaf becomes a sparrow.
    One leaf becomes a sparrow.
    One leaf is a starling. One leaf
    is a starling. One leaf is a star-
    ling. One leaf is a sparrow. One
    leaf becomes a blue bird. One
    leaf is a blue bird. One cat’s
    tail twitches. As one the birds
    rise from so many leaves.

  36. Tracy Davidson

    A Certain Sci-fi Trilogy in Words of One Syllable

    Did you see that film
    with the cute guy
    dressed all in black
    where he was told
    he was ‘the one’?

    He was told that it, that he,
    was a big deal.

    But then in the next film
    he found out
    he was not
    the first ‘the one’.

    And thus he was just
    one ‘the one’.
    Not a big deal at all.

    That must have sucked.

    In the end
    he turned out to be
    the last ‘the one’.

    Which sucked too.
    Cos’ he died…

    I think.

  37. Walter J Wojtanik

    EACH OF US IS ONE

    Start with yourself.
    You’re a woman; you’re a man,
    you don’t quite understand,
    but you know if it starts
    anywhere, it starts with you.
    You are one.

    Someone comes along
    and likes what you do; your style,
    you can’t help but smile,
    because all you wanted was for
    someone to take you seriously.
    Both ones together; you become two.

    The two of you have a plan,
    a chance to spread the joy you feel,
    and the feeling is real,
    that when the next person joins your cause
    you feel the load lessen.
    Your small crowd is a company; you are three.

    And so it goes, and so it goes.
    You saw a chance and planted the seed.
    Never assuming it was out of greed,
    but out of a love for the world you believe in.
    And you believed that if it started anywhere,
    it started with you. You are one.

    Each of us is one.
    We are all one.

    © Walter J. Wojtanik

  38. tripoet

    One Ticket
    Senior Juan won one million dollars
    selecting the lottery ticket one one one
    one one one. He found he went
    from one friend to millions.

  39. Walter J Wojtanik

    ONE GOOD TURN

    The milk of human kindness pours
    freely; clearly. Nearly everyone
    aspires to a higher calling,
    but ends up falling flat on their
    best intentions. Conventional wisdom
    is a unconscionable nudge to action.
    But, only a fraction of the folk
    respond. It is beyond comprehension,
    not to mention beyond reason.
    Those who want stand in legion
    pleading, needing to just sustain;
    a respite from the torrential rain
    life pours down. Sounds simple,
    but pride becomes the pimple
    that blemishes the clear complexion
    of a complex humanity. Such insanity
    is treated in a fashion, a mix
    of compassion and ignorance. And all
    that is required is an effort,
    a sort of determination to improve
    the station of those who had lost their way.
    Do it because you want to; do it
    because you can. Take a stand;
    you’ll be better for it. Don’t ignore it,
    we’re all deserving of one good turn.

    © Walter J. Wojtanik

  40. PowerUnit

    There is only one history,
    It is owned by the victors,
    And you are a simple terrorist.

    Defending your land
    And attacking mine
    Are the same thing.

    There will be no freedom
    For those who don’t submit.
    A gun never solved anything.

    Truce is not the same as peace.
    History is owned by the winners
    And there is only one.

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