A Question

poppy 2Shh. Listen to the music
Bullets zing
Hear the sound of drums in the distance—a muffled percussion of bombs
A whistle. Pretty in any other place. Not this place
A grand flurry, a timpani roll of crumbling destruction
This is the music of hate

of               fear



Shh. Listen to the silence
Of no breath, no heartbeat
The music is gone, it has done its deed
It is hungry and spent, and will rest until it can feast again
On intolerance
And replenish on revenge

Strange song in the quiet
So discreet the hunger does not hear
A little red poppy pokes its head through rubble and steel
A curious child kneels to look
And is surprised to hear, barely hear
The uncurling of leaves

“What did you learn from the ruins today?” asks his grandfather

Memorial Day Contemplations

FlagI dreamed of being a hero. Putting on Mother’s old dresses and twirling around like a dandelion seed in the wind. I didn’t sip tea with dolls, I rode horses and fought imaginary villains and leapt over molten lava, swinging from a rope on a tree. Yes, my Barbie kissed her boyfriend but she also went over cliffs tied to a string, on her brave mission. I wanted to save the world.

I dreamed of being an artist. Too impatient to finish college I drove to Los Angeles to be a musician. From dive bars to famous recording studios, I wrote songs that made me ache, that meant something, that said something, that made people feel. I wanted to leave my mark in the world.

I dreamed of a peaceful world. I taught my children to be kind, to share, to turn the other cheek. To soar like birds in their own way, and to help others find their wings. War, in any flavor, was wrong. I wanted to shelter my children.

I dreamed of a perfect world, but life zigged and zagged me through paths I couldn’t steer against, through tragedy I could not erase, through mistakes I could not fix. I dreamed of a perfect world, but instead I grew in wisdom and strength. With that came an elusive inner peace, which is there when I remember to look.

I woke up on Memorial Day. I remember with gratitude the heroes who fought, the artists who stirred our souls to action, the peacemakers who gave us hope, and the blind perfectionists who screamed in the wind until their message dissipated to compromise and change.