Veteran’s Day 2019

dad and grandpa s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fathers of fathers
a photograph, a silence—
echoes enduring

My father and his father drawn from a photo–circa World War II.  Must have been right before my father left for Europe.  My grandfather remained in the States for the Second World War.  He also served in WWI.

veterans day 2015 2s

We clothe our dead from the two World Wars in nostalgia, but conflicts since then have become more frequent, and murkier, and today’s veterans have suicide rates that keep rising, despite sporadic efforts to find a way to help their troubled lives.

“More than 45,000 veterans and active-duty service members have killed themselves in the past six years. That is more than 20 deaths a day — in other words, more suicides each year than the total American military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.” (NY Times, November 1, 2019)

veterans day 2015 1s

I wrote about this issue for Veteran’s Day in 2015 with the embroidered newspaper article about one Marine Regiment and the mounting suicides among its members.  It was a heartbreaking read, and I made a nonet from phrases taken from the text.

veterans day 2015 4s

He was doomed. Doomed to watch his friends die.
Life seemed increasingly bitter.
He never mentioned the war.
The funerals after.
He was still alive.
He did not care
to try to.
Gave up.
Scared.

Eyes
empty.
What they saw.
Directionless,
but what choice was there?
It becomes part of you.
He never mentioned the war.
Life seemed increasingly bitter.
Only regrets and flashbacks remained.

The very best way to honor our veterans would be to find a way to avoid the need for their sacrifices in the first place.  But given the likelihood of that occurring, we can at least acknowledge their pain, attempt to support them, and try to find a way to return some source of connection and meaning to their lives.

veterans day 2015 5s

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

Linking to Frank Tassone’s #haikai Challenge #112 for Veteran’s Day.

 

 

Contingencies

contingencies s

Enmeshed by expectations, I keep spinning into tangles of self-imposed tempests. Where is the thread that will uncoil the gyring currents and release my thoughts into exhalations that echo with waves of light?

spirit of the wind
zephrean lullaby
dance me with dream dust

contingencies close up s

A quadrille haibun using dVerse host Kim’s word “keep” that considers the withering wind of Frank Tassone’s #haikai challenge #111.

Hunters Moon

hunters moon s

I stand at my back window near midnight. The night is cloudy, but still I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of the full October Hunter’s Moon.

I will not be using its light to search for my winter’s food store. So what am I seeking?  What will nourish me in the coming months of short days and long nights?

tell me what I see–
moon appears complete, sudden,
clouds glowing colors

wings against golden black
catch omens, rise, then fly

hunters moon close up 2s

Every two weeks The Ekphrastic Review has a writing challenge.  I usually enter, and always plan to do a collage for the selected work and publish my poem, even if it isn’t chosen.  Of course I don’t actually often have the time.  But Jane Dougherty’s repetition of Dale Patterson’s artwork, with 3 of her poems, spurred me to do my collage and revise my poem, which I wasn’t satisfied with.  It fit right into Frank Tassone’s “Hunter’s Moon” prompt.  Were you lucky enough to see it?

hunters moon close up s

You can see Jane’s poems here.  And those selected by guest editor Jordan Trethewey, at The Ekphrastic Review, here.

turn turn turn

turn turn turn s

Every year fall foliage surprises us with its clichés. Fibers yellow on the edges, becoming brittle and brown. Scarlet fire burns itself into a colorless ash.

Memory preserves the departed colors, waiting in darkness.

We have been to this place many times before and yet still it catches us, wheeling us with the wind. Time contracts, translating itself into a hidden refuge, a seed to hold and protect through the long nights.

Life turns inward now–
sleep opening like the wings
of migrating birds

turn turn turn close up s

For Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge #107, fall foliage.