Wartime Thinking Poetry and Prose Wordplay Comedy in Moldova

The next episode of XaW Files; scandalously ignored by the Man Booker awards, but congratulations to fellow esoteric satirist Paul Beatty for winning with The Sellout; mixes deep conflict themes with slapstick comedy wordplay, as well combining poetry and prose.

Japan World War Two and Islamism War Comparison

It features the award winning French movie, Of Gods and Men, which told the true story of a Trappist monastery being attacked by Islamists in Algeria during 1996. Now, mainly secular Muslim forces are fighting the Islamists, including many female soldiers, who face death as bravely as the monks, and I hope they prevail.

Maybe it’ll be better for monotheistic religion if the moderates do win, but that doesn’t matter to me; I’d rather a world full of nice monotheists, believing in some kind of god, than a world with less monotheists, but more murderous-rapist extremists like I.S., who demand you believe in ‘their god’.

Judaism has a small home now, Christianity has calmed down, and hopefully Islam will soon, or one day. Sometimes it is not Islam’s fault, but they are the only religion at war with all other major religions in the world, with none of the others still fighting each other.

Maybe Islam won’t find peace until they revise their beliefs, as the Japanese withdrew their belief that their emperor was the leader of an imperial cult after World War Two. Islam isn’t a small country though, so it will of course be much more difficult.

Japan’s Emperor During and After World War II Wikipedia

The role of the Emperor as head of the State Shinto religion was exploited during the war, creating an Imperial cult that led to kamikaze bombers and other fanaticism. This in turn led to the requirement in the Potsdam Declaration for the elimination “for all time [of] the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest”. Following Japan’s surrender, the Allies issued the Shinto Directive separating church and state within Japan, leading to the Humanity Declaration of the incumbent Emperor. Subsequently, a new constitution was drafted to define the role of the Emperor and the government.

Fiction Writer Growth

This episode and the next few also show my growth as a fiction writer, as I plan comedy over the episode, and over a few, by naming a pony Buck. With Werewolf of Oz, the second of the trilogy, I wrote to the end and then returned through the story to create connections, after taking a six months unpaid career break from the day-job.

With XaW Files I pretty much planned and wrote the 115,000 epic words along the way, with a minimum of additions afterwards.

Chapter 4 Episode 15

I woke up feeling alone for the first time in a long time. I was still in the lair of Zdob și Zdub, with lots of company, but I knew they were only here people, and not there a-were: they were not my travelling companions from the greenYgrey world. They would not be leaving this chapter, but maybe they would make it out of Moldova… and some may even return.

A Pony Called Buck

Sveatoslav Starus
brought me breakfast
extra mature cheese melt
asked me how I felt
I mentioned Mary and Jack
how I wanted them back
still missed Love’s trill ring
and felt tired from rambling.

Sveatoslav sympathised with me
said they’d arranged a pony
his name was Buck
he was full of pluck
over many moons he won Zdob
loadsa ponies which is quite a few bob
I said I couldn’t wait to meet Buck
Sveatoslav smiled and said I was in luck
for he was outside having a snack
with ZSZ guitarist Sergiu Cobzac.

Meeting Buck Fills Me with Luck

I took to Buck
without any work
he was full of character
great horse-sense patter
could see he’d been around
his theories on life were sound
we rode around the block a bit
having fun, not racing, or giving a whit
he said he was looking forward to leaving
and meeting my companions after retrieving
from Romania’s southern half capital city
after first getting down to the long campaign nitty gritty.

Keep the Home Fires Burning

That night we huddled around a roaring fire in the Zdob și Zdub backyard; the band, Buck and me. We talked and neighed not a lot, and when we did it was only for the most serious utterances.

We looked at each other deeply across the flames, as monks did across the dinner table in the movie Of Gods and Men. Looking for recognition and acknowledgement; and the right to return them; a little more knowledge to top up or complete a lifetime of experience.

You never know, on a mystery tour.


We knew we would never again share a fire in Chisinau, but that made the night all the more special.

One time when I looked at Buck, I remembered seeing him when I arrived, and that I hadn’t acknowledged him then. I had only seen an old pony, empty of experience and relevance. Now I knew a good friend.

I no longer felt alone, or like passing the Buck.

We would return to Romania together, side by side, and one atop another.


Pony is slang for £25. Bob is slang for shilling, an old British coin.
Horse-sense is slang for common sense: independent of specialized knowledge or training.
ZSZ guitarist from 1994-1996, Sergiu Cobzac.
Keep the Home-Fires Burning (‘Till the Boys Come Home) is a First World War song composed in 1914 by Ivor Novello with words by Lena Gilbert Ford.
Of Gods and Men, directed by Xavier Beauvois in 2010.

Available to buy or borrow on Amazon and some great big bookshops.



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