Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Duty Calls


Listen through…

Fog smoke steam cloud curl puff.
Boot crunch, leather squeak, metal clink,
Body thud and crinkle of brittle leaf.
Pop crackle pop again of guns, cannon boom.

Oh say can you…

Across crushed wheat, stacked like cord wood,
Twisted piles, limbs of broken kindling,
Dry, bled out, broken bone and dying moan.

Don’t you hear…

Shouts, whoops, screams, prayer and curse.
Commands, tears, rat-a-tat drums, bugle bleats,
Hiss of last breaths like rising will’o’wisps.

Call above the…

Roll of wheel, bray of mule, hoof of horse,
Water splash, suck of mud, snapping brush,
Sword clash, slaughterhouse belly tears,


Quiet echoes from peach grove to high water mark
And no sound of all is the worst of battle
Dropped on the victor and vanquished equally loud.

And as silence slips it shroud across
The right and the wrong sides of history,
You realize all you have heard today were
Duty calls.

Illustration: "Ghosts"  by the author: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Battlefield, 2005

1 comment:

n. davis rosback said...

the call above the silence
comes in a whisper