Monday Morning Musings:
Heritage Vineyards by Sheryl Began ©2016
We sit not far from the vines,
in wrought iron chairs round a table,
the summer sun still lights the sky,
engilding the end of the day
so that it glows, golden with promise
of sweet nights and gentle dreams,
a gracious breeze blows.
I face west, watching the sun slowly fall,
but we drink to sunrises and love,
Coeur d’Est, Heart of the East,
wine with flavors and aromas of blackberry, coffee, and pepper,
fruit and spice,
rich, but not too heavy for this June evening
rolled on the tongue and savored
My daughter takes photos of us
documenting the moment
as we sit there, relaxed
enjoying the wine,
enjoying the company,
enjoying the musician,
singing of angels that fly from Montgomery,
our thoughts fly, too,
flitting here and there,
like bees when they find the right flower,
her husband mentions his sessions in New York.
Is it okay to ask?
Yes, I’ve wanted to tell you, he says.
And so he does.
He talks of the incidents,
the particular one that caused him the most trauma
foreign words to me,
convoys, gunners, and Vehicle-Borne Explosive Devices
the language of war,
foreign words and foreign lands
known to me only through books, movies, news reports.
I learn more later,
when I read some papers he gave us,
I learn of a mission to deliver clothing and supplies
to Iraqi school children,
a humanitarian mission, but still dangerous–
I am proud of this man,
who is my son “in law,”
but who is becoming the son of my heart, as well
my daughter loves him,
and that’s what matters,
but I discover, he’s officially a hero,
as well as one to her,
but he has paid the price.
Coeur d’Est, Coeur de lion
Becoming a combat soldier involves many skills—
I already know, he’s an excellent driver—
But conflict zones require more,
turning off emotions
learning to kill
learning to hate
fearing that hate
fearing killing and expecting to kill
fearing death and expecting death
becoming used to—craving–
the rush of adrenalin that comes from danger,
then having to turn it all off,
stimulation, the drug of war,
duty and bravery, comrades at arms,
but there’s a cost,
the trauma born of war
for soldiers and civilians
who must go on, and live after.
Dulce et Decorum Est
Pro patria mori.*
Are we coded to wage war
to defend our homes, our honor, our families
death, destruction, injuries to body and soul?
To battle through conflicts and then feel conflicted?
Shell-shocked soldiers in WWI
the horrors of WWII,
back through the past
and up to the present,
we humans are intent on finding new,
and better ways to kill.
I don’t have an answer,
there must be a better way.
instead of building walls and spouting hate,
hate that nourishes more hate
and makes it grow,
a noxious weed,
requiring little care to flourish
but some skill to eradicate.
Why do we listen?
Perhaps it’s easier to blame others,
the demagogue’s favorite trick.
The candidate’s quockerwodgers
dance when he pulls the strings,
the expert puppeteer,
gorgonizing in soundbites,
but we have to remember to think on our own,
be the voice, instead of the puppet,
perhaps then we can create a better way,
set our phasers to stun, not kill
let peace guide the planets
let the sunshine in
imagine all the people
living in peace,
the lion’s heart swelling with love.
But now, on this beautiful summer night,
our dreams are of life and the future,
of houses and homes,
we drink and talk,
smile and laugh,
birds fly overhead, singing lullabies,
slowly dusk falls and settles lightly,
a soft blanket to cover us,
and we travel home.
*It is sweet and right to die for your country. “Dulce et Decorum Est” is the title of the well-known poem by WWI poet, Wilfred Own. You can read it with notes here.
Today is the anniversary of D Day, June 6, 1944, and though I wish for a peaceful world, I do not want to slight the heroes of that day—or indeed, any day.
This article discusses some of the forgotten African American heroes of D Day.