In mind.

catalpa, heart-shaped and boney
your daddy died years ago,
in redress of his mind, where I leave
my fingers on the stone,
and I’ll never see him, he is just a rock
he is just a worm;
you’ve been in my mind
but never knew me,
I tire; death
is half the stradivarius of the birds
and their strings of gut
than it is mystifying or
inbound
to limb
by limb
and the shadow of their men.
The root of rock
tree limbs near
Anchinia cristalis
their moth wings
in arias
and woodland
mincing and misplanted
in raw-boned eulogy after eulogy
and I’ve never known him
this man of earth, of war
and weedy cypress, lizards
and their fluted skins
married to the wind;
phantom epistles
from Vietnam
fed by labored tumuli,
plummeted fingers into the ground
fall and drown, fall and drown.

© 2020 lucysworks.com All Rights Reserved.


Posted for the dVerse MTB prompt: Write a Protest Poem with a theme (e.g. voting, social justice, peace & war, violence, women’s rights, human rights, environment, pandemic, etc).

This is not quite a protest poem, but I think it communicates the same idea about what war takes away from us, including our loved ones who either passed in war or lived through their traumas until the end of their life.

Originally published on Ephemeral Elegies. I dedicated this to my Grandfather who fought in the Vietnam War, passing away years later in my early childhood.




Categories: Poetry, Prose

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

54 replies

  1. How sad, when war leaves us with shadows of their soldiers, forever traumatized by what they have seen. I wonder if you are for or against that war?
    Lucy, I can’t imagine the hell some people have gone through. Your lines here are stellar:

    and I’ll never see him, he is just a rock
    he is just a worm;

    and
    in raw-boned eulogy after eulogy
    and I’ve never known him
    this man of earth, of war

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, yes, I agree with you very much. It’s haunting and terrifying what they go through, and they come back never the same.

      I’m against the Vietnam War. I think it was a war that wasn’t needed, and it either ended many lives or it left these lives with long-lasting trauma and PTSD. This was a war “justified” by the domino theory and the fear of the spread of communism. Involvement in Vietnam, I personally think was not needed. It’s saddening what these soldiers were put through, and my Grandfather as one of them, he was psychologically tormented from it.

      I thank you for your heartfelt comment and feedback, Grace. Thank you. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this is very potent in its sadness, in the needless wars which the mere mention of Vietnam paints.
    A grave is in itself a protest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Behind the simple title lies a complex poem about the effects of war. A deeply touching poem, Lucy, from the point of view of a child who didn’t have the chance to meet and get to know their grandfather. The lines that sang to me are:
    ‘…death
    is half the stradivarius of the birds
    and their strings of gut’
    and
    ‘their moth wings
    in arias
    and woodland
    mincing and misplanted
    in raw-boned eulogy after eulogy.’
    The ones that broke my heart are:
    ‘…I’ve never known him
    this man of earth, of war

    phantom epistles
    from Vietnam’.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kim, I thank you greatly. Vietnam took away so much, and in its aftermath, it took away peace for these men and gave them waking nightmares, the ones who survived and came back home. My Grandfather suffered. When I was a child, he passed away and I never got to know him well or even at all, quite honestly. Vietnam didn’t kill him at first, but in the end, I believe it did if that makes sense.

      Thank you for your kind words and analysis. ❤ ❤ It means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is deeply poignant! You portray the horrors of war and aftermath with finesse.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It communicates that idea heartbreakingly, Lucy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A beautiful poem outlining the harsh realities of war and it’s aftermath 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  7. War, whether justified or not justified — depends on who is talking — leaves its undelible (sp?) stain upon its participants. I’ve seen it in too many loved ones and acquaintances. A very powerful protest poem, Lucy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lucy my comment disappeared. If it doesn’t surface again, let me know, ok?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lucy in the sky with protestations–hear, hear. There is a whole genre of war protest poems, and this piece could stand on parade with any of them. Viet Nam was my war. Your poem conjures the ghosts of comrades and friends. You might enjoy HERE, BULLET by Brian Turner about the Iraq war.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “I’ve never known him
    this man of earth, of war
    and weedy cypress, lizards
    and their fluted skins”

    Sigh. Your writing is so gorgeous. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I like how you link death with the natural world of corruption. The rendering down of flesh and blood by beetles and worms.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I like how nature invades your poem

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Not many can describe the aftermath of war with such eloquence. Bravo!

    Like

  14. You’ve been in my mind, but never knew me!! Love this line…. life passed on as we die off and turn to stone, but really to the earth to be reborn in all that arises.
    Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The elegiac tone of this piece comes through so well – the repetitions ‘tire’ ‘rock’, ‘limbs’ ‘raw boned eulogy is a beauty – and the wonderful broken rhymes – ‘to limb / by limb/ and the shadow of their men’. Like limbs scattered on a battlefield. Visceral wonderful writing Lucy.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I like this, Lucy. It’s a different palette to your usual work – softer, sepia tones. It works very well. The repetition works well in a poem about loss and grief.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. kaykuala
    in redress of his mind, where I leave
    my fingers on the stone,
    and I’ll never see him, he is just a rock

    There they are, plain cold tombstone, that’s all left. Vietnam and now practically everywhere war undeclared make life really miserable. Protest as we do but politics and power play are of higher consideration. Brilliant references to many beautiful contrasts, Lucy. Ma’am!

    Hank

    Liked by 2 people

  18. It’s exceptionally powerful with its windy distant address, picking up the remnants of a ghostly harrow sixty years past. Sublime, too, for the way its meaning is woven so deeply under the surface.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Your poem is deep, powerful, sobering.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. A brilliant piece about a not so brilliant world.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Lucy, your poetry is absolutely superb. In fact superb does not even begin to describe it.
    “I tire; death
    is half the stradivarius of the birds
    and their strings of gut
    than it is mystifying or
    inbound
    to limb
    by limb..

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Deeply touching Lucy. I was a lucky one. I was in Army ROTC for two years while at university, on my way to be an Infantry 2nd Lieutenant. Right before I was due to “up” into active full time duty, the 1969 Viet Nam draft lottery happened — and my birth date number was 292… so I never had to go “in country”. But far too many of my high school and college friends died physically or mentally in that most unfortunate war. Well written here Lucy… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. This is exceptional!! 🌬✨

    Liked by 1 person

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