Poem: A Contemplation on War and Visions of Peace*

Some young professionals were sitting in a diner talking about their visions
for the future. Once they made enough money, they’d buy a farm somewhere
and finally find some peace. One would open a yoga studio.
Another would build a Zen sanctuary and retreat.

A redneck in the corner overheard and shouted,
“You don’t know shit about peace. You don’t know
the first God-damned thing about peace.”

They objected, of course, that they read
Thich Nhat Hanh and D T Suzuki.
In the country quiet, they averred,
they could meditate on universal truths.

The redneck philosopher snapped back,
“You think it’s quiet in the country?
That only means you never lived one damned day in the country. “

But these professionals spent many holidays in the fresh air,
hiking, biking, camping, and learning to appreciate the outdoor
wonders the universe offers to those who can see.

In a blind fury, this hick shouted,
“I don’t give a good God damn if you walked a thousand miles in the desert.
If you can’t find peace wherever you are, if you don’t take peace with you,
you can never find it. Can’t you see that? Can’t you fucking see?”

With that, this veteran
picked up his duffle bag and
shuffled into the street.

*Based on a Buddhist parable.

Photo by Mehmet Suat Gunerli on Pexels.com

Support the Troops (Remembrance Day Poem)

A farmer working in a field with his children formed

A bucolic scene in the countryside, maybe.Screenshot 2018-11-10 at 06.23.15

An older man crashed his bicycle and

Injured his leg, or so it would seem.

 

On the first tour, these scenes did not

Seem so ambiguous. The world

Had not given over to chaos then.

A soldier might still pass with a sense of purpose.

 

On the second tour, doubt set in,

And the soldiers sometimes faltered

In indecision–perhaps the wedding

Party was filled with combatants.

 

On the third tour, everyone is

A combatant. Everyone must die.

The universe is infinite and absolute

Hostility, death the only possible escape.

 

He asked whether I thought US soldiers

May have committed atrocities.

I asked whether he had support

For his mental health needs.

 

He answered only with

A desperate, pleading smile.