A prayer for hard times

Thank you, Brother Moon,
for lighting our hearts
in the deepest night.

Thank you, Brother Moon,
for guiding the Sun
on its relentless arc.

Thank you, Brother Sun,
patient behind the rim of morning
awaiting your time to rise.

Thank you, Brother Sun,
for your terrible light
upon good and evil alike.

Thank you, Mother Earth,
for embracing the dead
we discard along with our dreams.

We children, both of
darkness and light.

Soldiers came

No, not these soldiers – others,
so long ago, ravening out of the forests of
Middle Europe, or the sun-dappled hills of Rome,
or down the rocky shores of the Yalu River,
or the Nile Valley, so green, so parched,
and still we hear their echo,
the clang of their steel, the dull thud
of cleaving bone,
and still we slash and slash, hoping to get it right
over and over, each death a travesty,
each new birth the death of a memory.

My god, you’d think by now
we’d have done it to perfection,
and abandoned it out of boredom
for some gentler pursuit,
but dealing death is our darling,
and a jealous one at that.

Red, red rain

There was a June when it rained
As it rained every June
Anyone could remember
All day, every day, every night

A rain so fine you could breathe it
So swollen you could drown
In the tall grass never knowing
Why, eyes wide and mouth agape

That June as wet inside as out
The earth heaved upward
As the rain kept falling
The sky without warning red as blood

I remember now, a voice was calling
“Come back through the long grass,
Come back through the red, red rain.”
But the red rain was you.

1914 III: The dead, by Rupert Brooke

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day here in the US.

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men call age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.