Poetry (0f A Sort)

A Sampling on this page - alpha by title in links below.

The Reply

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Garcia

You were just 17.

A kid, really.

Was it too much TV?

The absence of a father which made you like that?

 

That July you were so eager.

Airborne Ranger,

Jump into the jungle

Kill every bad guy in sight.

 

Yet, come September, off to medic training …

It hurt – I could see it in your face,

Ill-at-ease amongst all us “pacifists”

Still wanting to jump,

            Be a hero,

            But with a now-dulled blade

                                                                                          

That November ... remember? 

            In 5 short months

            A killer turned healer

Yea, still jumping out of airplanes.

But to save a life, if you could.

            Not take one, if you could.

           

Still just 17

No more the big talker

Now a reader, a thinker,

Just as much laughter

But with a lot less sass

Yeah, seemed you found some peace.

 

I’ll never forget you, Garcia – rough and tumble boy from the Bronx.

Did you make it?  Are you still alive? 

Please …?

MAN AND THE ECHO

(1st stanza – by William Butler Yeats)

 

Man.    In a cleft that’s christened Alt

            Under broken stone I halt

            At the bottom of a pit

            That broad noon has never lit,

            And shout a secret to the stone.

            All that I have said and done,

            Now that I am old and ill,

            Turns into a question till

            I lie awake night after night

            And never get the answers right.

            Did that play of mine send out

            Certain men the English shot?

            Did words of mine put too great strain

            On that woman’s reeling brain?

            Could my spoken words have checked

            That whereby a house lay wrecked?

            And all seems evil until I

            Sleepless would lie down and die.

 

Echo.   Lie down and die.

 

 

REPLY

 

Man.    I asked of some of the IRA

            Men and women

            All had had their say.

            I asked of some of Sinn Féin’s ranks

            And of others

            Less forceful

            But who no less drank

            Of freedom’s cup and its heady draught.

            Was it Willie’s words which drove you out

            An early grave your price to pay?

            Or did they give naught but voice

            To deeds of heart

            Freely done

            On those your dying days?

            And here is what I heard them say.

            Rest easy, dearest Willy.

 

Echo.   Rest easy.       

In Honor …

 

I try to write this from a distance,

Placing distance between me,

And the virtues of which I speak.

 

I try to dampen the fire, minimize the praise

to record this sense of you which only distance can raise, 

Knowing I lack so much – hence, why I say, ‘I try.’

 

We all are flawed in our unique ways,

No one a saint or sinner,

Not fully, forever, throughout our days.

 

Thus, when I speak of Pearse or Connelly,

those many gone before,

I practice restraint lest I ascribe only virtues

to mere mortals, for we all know there is more.

 

But this I know is true of you -

You, a human, flawed as are all,

Is a hero, a martyr, who answered the call,

One we believed then, and believe now, is just …

 

And, thus, I stand in awe,

Not of your super-humanity

But of your uncommon bravery

In standing when there was a price to be paid.

 

I will carry this portrait, your portrait,

This image of you,

Sa cheartlár mo chroí,

In honor of you, my friend,

For all eternity.