Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Cannot Speak of War

I Cannot Speak of War

I can only speak of soldiers: captured
in nearly a century of photographs.
Old eyes in young faces who wear
integrity as easily as their crisp
dress blues and browns.

I can speak of my grandfather:
the doughboy
learning a bit of the old parlez-vous
with gay mademoiselles baring
frantic smiles and foxholed nights
when the chauchaut rifle was useless.

I can speak of my father:
GI Joe following
in the footsteps of Fat Man
through the hot
ashes of Nagasaki,
where watches stopped,
Geiger counters clicked and wildflowers
bloomed in the nuclear afternoon.

I can speak of my brother:
always faithful
to the Corps. The drill instructor
of Parris Island, pulling weekend
suicide watches - basic
training of grunts into privates –
the process
of plucking out
the few and the proud.

I can speak of my son:
nearly a man the day the towers fell.
His eyes were unforgiving,
dark and newly old.
The next custodian turned to face
the incoming storm
and I placed his picture on the shelf
along with the others.

Pat Harvey

Posted over on Poets Against The War

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