This week let’s a poem about duty. (No sniggering in the back.) We all have duties to perform, some pleasant, some not so. Consider it your duty to post a poem in the comment below.
about a friend who died in Iraq and my return from there:
It’s the act
to comprehend the sentence
passed through the tent,
walked down, passed
from bunk to bunk.
As consciousness comes
there is a dread that sinks
in — pinning my soul,
which my body
cannot rise without,
down into the curve of the mattress.
Your essence may stay
in a place where I
fed a thin, half-grown fox
an MRE at midnight,
where the earth smell from the fields
in the morning sun,
where dogs near the road are shot
as target practice,
where the sago palms are beautiful
by the muddy river —
while your body
lies in the hold
of a transport plane, draped
red, white, and blue.
In Kuwait I sat in a garden
shielded by a thornbush hedge
from the dune meadows
of the Persian Gulf. The Arab
gardener in his navy blue jumpsuit,
with his long,
pepper-gray beard, ignored me
in a friendly way, slowly pushing
his battered green wheelbarrow
to the day’s new spot where
the bright yellow flowers
of the tansy ragwort shouldered
into the more delicate ornamentals. Like
a close to retirement school principal
he pondered the ragwort, encroaching
from its home with the sea blite
in the dune meadow as
a car bomb went off
in the back of my mind
for the last time,
There is the whine of the
jet plane, engines charging,
and elation moves in a way
that becomes seismic
through the plane-load of soldiers,
as the commercial pilot calls
“wheels up” over the intercom.
Coming off the plane,
stopped for refuel
in Bangor, Maine, I
shook the hand of a WWII veteran —
his Navy cap bright with ornaments —
who, the line slowing,
looked offended a moment later
when I wouldn’t shake his hand.
He had forgotten, but
he will stand there for us
when able-bodied men won’t
and he knows what you’ve done.
I can do nothing
for your wife, your
small children. But
know that someone
will mow the lawn.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I like the description of the Arab gardener.
Thanks. He was interesting to watch. Here is another Duty poem, maybe — it seemed like duty. This was the most beautiful garden I saw while on a deployment (poem was published in Sky Island Journal):
On a Hill Outside Paghman, Afghanistan
In this ancient country floating high on the world,
Humvees circled on a hill, there is nothing to do
in a gun turret but watch the quiet land and think:
why are we here where the war has made us
fewer by six so far? We’ve run the goat farmer off
his hilltop again, always laughing trying to count
the number of goats that come out of the small door
of his stone house before he herds them down the hill,
under Kabul Valley’s high bowl of mountains.
He will return tomorrow when, if the night brings
no fighting, we leave to patrol back through Paghman,
return to camp. There will be no answer by then.
But we’ll stop in the town’s central garden, fed
by the stream that runs into the valley, and beauty
will make me glad for a moment to be in this country
of pack animals and no railroads, serene now like
the tribes have finally worked a knot that holds them
together, where green trees and bright flowers, trills
of sparrows under jagged snow-capped mountains,
make the wildest beauty I’ve ever seen.
LikeLiked by 1 person
honor your mother
when dementia arrives, an
Good one though sad.
I just post my poem here: https://bartbarkerpoet.com/2019/08/26/duty/
Here’s mine: https://medium.com/@ljtomey/duty-calls-d1fed27f1306
Thanks for coming out to the germination workshop yesterday!
And thank you!
Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
You are commenting using your WordPress.com account.
( Log Out /
You are commenting using your Google account.
( Log Out /
You are commenting using your Twitter account.
( Log Out /
You are commenting using your Facebook account.
( Log Out /
Connecting to %s
Notify me of new comments via email.
Notify me of new posts via email.
Enter your email address to follow Living Poetry's blog and receive new posts by email.
Join 421 other followers
Living Poetry on Facebook
Create a website or blog at WordPress.com