For the Sunday Scribblings prompt "wicked," a short poem inspired by parallels of a 1929 treatise by T.E. Lawrence and present-day Iraq.
T.E. Lawrence (also known as Lawrence of Arabia) wrote the entry for "Guerilla" in the 14th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Referring to Arab resistance to Turkish occupation in the 1914-18 war, he wrote of the insurgents, "...Suppose they were an influence, a thing invulnerable, intangible, without front or back, drifting about like a gas? Armies were like plants, immobile as a whole, firm-rooted, nourished through long stems to the heads. The Arabs might be a vapour..."
Something wicked this way comes*
it drifts like vapours
among the trees and beyond the rocks
it wafts through towns and villages
in hidden alleyways and narrow streets
it ducks behind cars and carts
hovers motionless behind a statue
and lurks among shadows
lying in wait
for its next victims
Using gas warfare as a metaphor for insurgency, Lawrence wrote that to control the land they occupied, the Turks "would have need of a fortified post every four square miles and a post could not be less than 20 men. The Turks would need 600,000 men to meet the combined ill wills of all the local Arab people. They had 100,000 men available."
"Rebellion must have an unassailable base ...in the minds of men converted to its creed. It must have a sophisticated alien enemy, in the form of a disciplined army of occupation too small to fulfill the doctrine of acreage: too few to adjust number to space, in order to dominate the whole area effectively from fortified posts.
"It must have a friendly population, not actively friendly, but sympathetic to the point of not betraying rebel movements to the enemy. Rebellions can be made by 2 per cent active in a striking force and 98 per cent passively sympathetic ... Granted mobility, security ... time, and doctrine ... victory will rest with the insurgents, for the algebraical factors are in the end decisive and against them perfections of means and spirit struggle quite in vain."
*"Something wicked this way comes" is a phrase originating in Act IV Scene I of William Shakespeare's play Macbeth. The speaker is the second witch: "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes." By this point in the play, Macbeth has been revealed to be the wicked thing, as both a traitor and a murderer.