Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Sounds of the Night... a poem by Frank Ellsworth Lockwood

But Whose Are These Children?

A poem about Americans, and  our refugee children

We are the Valiant Ones

We killed, but only 
To ensure truth, liberty, and justice for all.
So we said.

We are the purchasers and guardians of  freedom.
We are the Messiah's, the judges, the deliverers.
We are the good guys.
We are the Americans.
And we are  Babylonians, Assyrians, and Romans
And all the civilized peoples.

Without us, all would be slaves.
Or so they say.

We view the enemy differently:
They are not like us,
For they are evil, and we are good.
And we seek to destroy them,
We kill to bring life and happiness.
We fight wars to bring peace.

They taught us things in school,
And in Boy Scouts
And in Boot Camp.
And these are the thoughts our parents think.
And the politicians on T.V.
So they must be true.

We gather here, dearly beloved,
The men and the women,
The boys and the girls
All home grown.

We are the soldiers and sailors
Mariners, cavalry and airborne crews
And the camera people,
The peoples of the steeples.

And all manner of other occupations,
We are chosen by Destiny,
And now our time has come.
Our time has come.

We sink down low, beside our victims
In the slime and in the dirt, and in the dust of death.
We have given up our alleged "ghosts."
And we have joined the heavenly hosts.

Historian Speaks:
"They were destined for Greatness.
For glory."
But not all. Some did not die.
They are still here, among us. The wars are over ...
For some people, at least.

The noise has faded, and the smoke
And and the dust and the ashes,
And the songs and the dances,
After the far-away destruction,

On cable T.V.,
They still say,
"It was all worth it."

And all the people said, "I sure hope so."

Here we are
In the land of the free.
We water our lawns
And we drive our cars,
And we are the great ones of the earth.
And some of us sleep at night.

With dreams of our former glory.
We have made Our Nations great again.

We refuse to feel,
This sickness inside,
We must march on
In the names of our gods
And in the honor
Those who died.

We plant white crosses
All in nice in rows on bright green lawns.
We look around,
And we behold
What is left of the pawns.

In our spare time,
When we think no one is looking,
Some of us still take out our knives
And we carve "killing sticks,"
Like they taught us to do in the Special Forces.

And some of us,
We still sleep with  loaded guns
Beneath our pillows,
For we are afraid of the sounds of the night.

And yet we say, "The war was good."

But who are these children,
Crossing our borders?
Why can't we send them home?
After all this misery of war,
Why must we endure their dirty, grieving faces?
Why can't they move on
To other places?

We have other things on our mind:

We try to forget the pain and the grief.
We try to deny our guilt.
We even tell ourselves
That we forgive our enemies.

But ourselves,
We cannot forgive,
Some of us,
Though we try.

Nor can we forget,
(For we know not how),
Who we were, in the innocent days,
And what we have now become.

And we hear at night,
Unwelcome sounds,
Though we plug our ears with wax,
And close our eyes real tight.

Still our destiny awaits:
The fruit of our valor.
What is this sad song I hear?
Why no warrior cries?

This ringing in my ears,
What is it? A belligerent veteran's song?
A lonely solo, perhaps. Some muted anthem
From another time and place.

Strange sounds of wars thundering,
Off in the distance: Some mother remembers
Her son.
She is slipping off the earth

We are all slipping, sliding,
Or have already slidden.
Into the same pit
In which our victims lie.

Who are the brilliant ones,
Behind this inhumane scheme?

What evil, unseen hand, if any,
Has already added
Ourselves and our children
To the ranks of the many?

Ruined, slaughtered or killed?

"Oh, but we were brave," they say.
"Oh yes, we were true and faithful."
But faithful to what? Or to whom?

We were human once,
Back in the day.
And we believed.
But then...

What god? Norse, or Roman, Babylonian?
What gods from whence?
Who are the two-legged,
Horrible Monsters
That have perpetuated this myth,
The myth of the Valiant Ones?
And we lie awake and wonder ...

"Whence come these sounds of the night?"

#poetry #poem #war  #grief #death #American #valor #destiny #civilizednations #frankelockwood #lockwood #refugeechildren #makeAmericagreatagain


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