Saturday, December 15, 2007

Home of the Brave

Home of the Brave

Ferns and creepers
rustled softly
as a crisp breeze gently
tousled the hair
of the hanging man.

in the mud,
a soldier in a foxhole
peered over the lip
and there
in the moonlight
was a man
on a cross

The crucified one
hung there
in silent agony;
just another man on a cross
down a road of sorrow,
in a world of pain;
red pain—
sunset orange,
bloody yellow,
and deep red.

Rusty railroad spikes
were driven into his hands,
splitting the flesh, yet
he would not let loose
of life,
though it raced ahead of him
in the darkness.

The soldier
had watched the other
for several days,
but dared not
cross over
that hundred lethal yards
of barren ground,
due to the death
that crouched there
with the Cong,
who also waited.

The silence
was sliced open
from a burst
of M-16 rifle fire;
and the soldier
on the cross
as he was slashed to ribbons
by the friendly fire
of a squadron of lead
tearing compassionate holes
in his heart;
and the last flicker of life,
rushed from him,
red-washing its wings
as it took flight.

The young man in the battle trench
felt himself
felt the scalding tears
roll down
his dirty cheeks,
as he heard
the blood birds shriek,
and the night became full
of their flapping.

Glenn Buttkus 1968

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