a poem and some thoughts for this time
This past week has been surreal, watching the unmitigated flare of war and death far away, while experiencing the joy of caring for two young pups here at home.
I know enough of history to watch with dread, mesmerized by seeing the West make the mistakes of 1938 in a situation that, from Russia, must in some ways more closely resemble the tensions of 1917. And yet it is neither, but rather a product of our own time, which must be played out without knowledge of the outcome.
For myself, perhaps I read the trauma and angst of my own life too closely into larger events, but it seems impossible to do otherwise. Years ago, my opposition to the US’s actions in Iraq and Afghanistan led to years of large silence between myself and my father. Call it empathy or sensitivity or what you will, I cannot but feel the distant pain and the injustice.
I wrote the following poem last night in response to all of this.
The moon is young tonight. My heart is sore.
I feel the ebbing of so many lives.
So far away they are and yet my soul
Stands still, demanding silence while it counts
Obsessively the heartbeats that it hears.
They falter and fall silent. Though I have
Few tears, for I ceased crying long ago,
My heart is listening for pain, for grief,
Tonight the ocean of our lives
Is on the ebb, and waves fall back from shore,
And I, a drop within its vastness, yet can feel
Say that courage reigns,
And hearts beat stronger to oppose the foe,
And right shall be victorious over death.
Do I believe these things? Indeed I do,
For they have been my never-ending faiths
That kept me facing life-ward through dark years.
Yet let my dry eyes weep the falling tide
Tonight, the salt tears that we share from soul
To soul, for we are one. I see the moon
Is young and takes its rest beneath the hills,
But we are ancient and must fight to live.
I have written a few other things recently, but I think I will put them into a separate post… perhaps later this week. I only just realized that I have a backlog of additional haiku from my recent experiments. I shall have to look them over for a post of their own!
A long time ago I traveled to Normandy. To see a solar eclipse. But we had some more time and drove around a bit. As a Dutch boy, I learned about World War 2. About the agressor, and about the heroes. Then in Normandy, by accident, I found a German military cemetary. I wandered among the graves, reading the headstones. Boys, they were. All of them. 18, 19, 20 years old. Lost lives. It was a very vivid reminder that war knows only losers. It is never a good solution. Let's hope this one ends quickly. For us, it's very close. We are raising funds in the school's community to help with caring for the refugees that are here. Some friends of ours are even hosting refugees, some of which sleep on an air-matress we loaned them. It's very, very close for us. But yet, still far away. Strange days.