Veteran Poets

 

Bright, sunlit banners wave as soldiers march.

As Francis Ledwidge, Irishman, parades,

The sight and sound of laughter fill the air:

“To war!” The drumbeat stirs all hearts to share.

 

Bold men are damned yet ready for the dare.

Brave men, for glory, stepping forth as one

as Wilfred Owen’s ‘Artist Rifles’ share;

as Robert Graves, ‘Goodbye To All’, declares.

 

Their family and parents cheer as well.

The goodbye girls wave hankies in the air

as hurried hugs abound, excitement swells

before reality meets deep despair.

 

Oh, ra-ta-tat, the gleeful drums abound

before the sound of bullets split the air.

Sigfried Sassoon of Royal Fusiliers

gives up Owen prior to the Armistice.

 

And, Rosenberg still writes among the dead

before he’s buried with them in a trench.

As Isaac speaks for all, his soul will rest;

his poems on scraps of paper mid the stench.

 

Gray throngs of people slow to ghostly swirl

and float above the fog in fate’s mirage.

The young and hopeful heart, his body hurled

lies stripped of gaiety mid this cortege.

 

The veteran, with courage, harp and fife

survives the battle has the hardest write

for he remembers faces filled with worms

and frozen eyes who’ve lost their warmer light.

 

The poet’s name now writ upon a stone.

The ink, now dry, describes his final line.

Reverse his boots upon a saddled horse;

Slow roll of drums, now distant, heard no more.

The Choice

The best of dancers ruined by a host

of other loves that to the heart may call.

Some choices must be made or not at all.

The dance too brief ; the song may end for most

and fly away from splendor of romance.

Crescendo reached and still the dance she owns.

Life is too short to settle, oh, for less.

Eshoo the heart; don’t make the dreadful choice!

Her soul now hovers.  Grief is like a plow

that pushes every goal to here and now.

 

(Was watching the Movie, “The Red Shoes” when I wrote this.  The agony of being forced to make a choice between two over-whelming loves can drive one mad.)

The Mending

overgrown house

My world abandoned, Nature makes amends.

A wild confusion grows at my front door.

The mutterings of children heard no more.

Beneath her gnarled roots a sallow floor.

 

Vines grab the windows once held curtain’s sway.

With ghostly tread, cold silence roves her halls.

No more the scent of Jasmine blossom calls.

What mystery escapes these stucco walls?

 

What place is this once held such loveliness?

Mad roots now rave and overrun my past.

They strangle wistful longings of the heart

and love’s become a stranger for my part.

 

I hear the moan; that suffocating tease.

My past grows pale; the withered vine my frieze.