A poem for veterans


Never mind that the boats move slowly,

For slowly they drift, pulsing down the river

As the sun sets and the sky turns mauve.

Never returning to that shore,

Never pretending that they will reach that place

Beneath the hillocks,

Where they saw those lights dangling,

Suspended over rippling waves, long ago.

A rush of pride stops them in their tracks,

For they belonged to themselves

And disliked interference.

They close their eyes,

Longing to journey far from here,

And began making plans.

Slumped in their chairs on the dock,

The limited future dilates before them,

Further away from a mystical past.

They went to war for clarity,

For blazing shores and whiter ideals.

But never again would they lie under the dimming stars,

Alone in dark fields.

He left them screaming,

Howling in the trenches as light fell in the East.

Never again would he fall from heaven,

Not like that.

To hear a woman laugh,

Laugh shrilly, was all that he craved back then,

As he hated all else, almost everything else

That he saw behind him,

Calamity needed to stay behind him.

Like his father, he thought they were fighting for peace,

But they were tearing off a cliff.

He pulled the oars out of the current,

While rowing his old lady out to sea,

She watched him and said nothing.

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