The Climb

It came from a seed alone
a small, pathetic seed
that happened
to fall
in the right
insignificant
patch of dirt.

And then it grew.

Slowly at first,
Emergent roots, digging down,
chutes peeping through the topsoil
fighting their way
towards the light,
blazing a path towards the sky.

And so it grew.

Branches, leaves,
inching higher, wider,
expanding.
Carving a place for itself
from thin air,
until nothing could hope
to challenge it.

And so it was grown.

But the tree grew old, inert,
and new threats came.
A vine, one morning,
until that day downtrodden,
ground dwelling,
found its way to the tree
and used it.
Used the work the giant had done
to pull itself
up.
Before the vine had been weak,
now it stole the strength to lift itself,
to scale the heights
of the tree that
came before it.

And so it grew,

climbing and binding
and squeezing,
suffocating,
wrapping itself tighter and tighter
and tighter
pushing itself upwards,
squeezing the life from the tree
until
it could no longer breathe.

And so it was grown.

And years later, the vine remained,
decorating, desecrating
the skeleton
of she that had
blazed the trail.

The Siege

The mother laid her son to rest,
As she did every night.
Perhaps so far the toughest test
In her tortuous plight.

The bombs they fell with shrieking fire,
Amongst her dearest friends.
A situation ever dire,
Without an easy end.

Tonight was different, she knew;
Her soul began to crack.
His lips had turned a frozen blue,
He wasn’t coming back.
The fight for them was good and true,
Now husband, sons she lacked.

’67

Twelve years in and there’s no end in sight,
The struggle goes on, still an unwanted plight
For us. Yet we toil day to day, can’t give up the fight,
While poor farmers resist our American might.

It’s impossible to define, this bleak situation,
They say that we fight for the ideals of our nation,
But what does that mean to a man losing patience
With a war that we fight that we can’t seem to win?

War is Hell. It’s true. Nothing I could say
Would begin to describe the days
I have lived in fear, as the grey
Fog closed in around us, and I prayed,
For the first time in my life I prayed
To be delivered, begged that I may
Survive to be able write to home and say
That I was safe, that I had not died that day.

And safe I remained, for a while at least,
But they take a toll on you, the deceased,
It releases in the mind a kind of demon, a beast,
And after a while my buddies and me ceased

To cope so well with seeing the new
Recruits thrown out to join us, we knew
What fate, what pain awaited them, the true
Life of the young soldier, while they had no clue.

But what option do we have? This is life now,
This is part of who we are, part of how
Our future is shaped.

And when I wake in the years from now
With sweat streaming from my brow

I’ll point back to here, to this nightmare, to this impossible toil,
To all these young lives wasted on some godforsaken foreign soil.

173d_Airborne_Brigade-_Vietnam_War-Hill_823

Summer Offensive

The rains came, the soldiers deployed,
Forward they went, devoid
Of any emotion, just employed
To see their foe destroyed.

Sneaking in through the smallest of holes,
Each among them knew his or her role,
Narrow passages awaited them, their goal
To find the center of control.

But alas, before they had begun,
Their foes brought out their heavy guns.
First came the floods, filling the tunnels,
Stopped their flight, gone their chance to run.

Then came the bombs, sharp bursts amid the calm.
The sounds deafening, the force alarming.

And then, to end it all came the chemicals.
The final end, the reaper’s sickle.
Troops lay dead and dying, all for the fickle

And pointless Summer pollen offensive

.Pollen_from_pine_tree_2

One Wish

Earth_Eastern_Hemisphere
One Wish
If you had it,
That one little wish,
what would you ask?
A Manifesto For A Better World,
Perhaps.
Or something more…
Selfish.
War,
Hunger,
Cancer,
Ended.
Or not.
Heartless not to want these, no doubt.
But if I had it,
That one little wish,
Well.
I fear that the world
Would continue to wait.
To wait for an unspoken wish.

The Narrowness of Minds

What defines us still, to so many eyes? In the age of emancipation how do nations measure our skill, our worth? Justice falls away, prejudice remains, stains our character, suggesting opinions before they can form, and shunning those who do nothing to merit it. What’s in a name, what’s in the hue, the pigment, the colour of our skin to define our worth?

Nothing.

And yet, to some, to too many, it still means everything.

Frederick Douglass, ca. 1879.  George K. Warren. (National Archives Gift Collection) Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #:  200-FL-22 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #:  113
Frederick Douglass, ca. 1879

Snapshots of a Misspent Youth

Yesterday I was born.
And soon I am to die.
It’s happened many times before.
Each birth and death some great man.
An artist, musician, scholar,
A writer?
Personas never realised
As they pass beyond.
Never remembered, never great.

And it’s for no reason other than this.
That in my strange and twisted mind,
‘Tis worse to have tried my best, and failed,
Than never to have tried at all.