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The Living Dead

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My mind wanders to the stillness of a field
where wild asters used to stud the grass with blue
I seem to hear the echo of a voice
Lamenting over the vast stretches where my thoughts cling

Here, children ran and played and called each other yesterday
and people sometimes lazed in the earth's firmness
Riffling the crisp grass through their fingers
or gaze into the blue greyness of the vast unknown

Once this field nurtured life
Once a squirrel hid in it's thickness,
an ant crawled busily as it clung to a tree
Once all was teeming with life

Like a mother who nurtures a babe inside her womb
not a living creature now on that field
None whose love, whose life, whose breath
once braced the hearts of those he knew

What is that echo I seem to hear
where recently the field turned battlefield
Of maimed and wounded
I seem to hear the repeated blows against my chest

Or, do I hear the outside pounding of a heart
now the stench of death spreads an eerie feeling over me
I walk bent, my ear tuned to someone's distress
I cannot feel uplifted

It matters not where the source of death is life
clocking it's rhythmic beat
On its march to that irrevocable end
but when the arrogant hand of the battle

In Vietnam, Valley Forge, Verdun, Gettysburg or Golan Heights
moves the pace faster
Who am I not to feel the pain
the deep sore pain I share with those mourning

Mourning their beloved dead
striped of a life once dear to their very own essence
And dear to those who knew and loved and cared
who now have gnawing at their vitals the agony of loss

Like an amputation of the very fibers of their being
I share the deep sore pain of those left mourning
I think of their moment of anguish, their eons of hurt
Yet hope springs among some

And sometimes cheer a moment of cheer
like a grace note against a solemn chord
I picture myself on that field among the dying
I go deep into their entrails

Among those struggling to grip that last grip
that last gasp
Until beaten by death they surrender
Yet at times, I'm among those

who go to death with grace
As though the secret of the unknown were revealed in beauty
I ask myself, " Which would I " ?
I cannot know the imponderable

And yet I know a choice I'll be called to make
I'm back with those left living again
Living and mourning
I grope perhaps to soothe with words or comfort with my touch

But I feel empty, hollowed out am endless desert
Like those who once knew those dead


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