Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11

"peace is the absence of triumph"
joel oppenheimer

leaves falling
on a day off from school
usually a chilly breeze
drawing winter closer

each year my birthday
had a sadness
from promises not kept:
the end of war

Armistice Day
a wreath quietly appeared
beneath a World War One statue
on the corner of Chestnut & Clay

my father's tin soldiers
antique gun collection
cans of black powder
Civil War library

who was the enemy?
why was I marching?

yet the wars went on
in the world
in my family
& in myself

from stuttering words
to a stuttering life
there was no peace

what to celebrate
over withering marigolds
in my mother's garden?
triumph is a trumpet
signaling another war to come

a soldier who begins with trumpets
ends up face down in the mud
crying out for his mother
for God to let him live

a desire for triumph
is a desire for war
how difficult it was to believe
those marigolds would grow again
in some distant springtime

if we wait for spring
to bring renewal
we will die

if we wait for wars to end
we may not end our own

if we wait for peace to come
we may find no peace
while we are waiting

only in a spring
that cannot wait
for its season
is there love enough

© Bob Rixon

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Happy birthday.
Thank you.

I wrote this poem 20 years ago today. Never been published, although I included in it readings.
The World War One statue
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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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