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Archive for May, 2008

IWO JIMA

I could just stare at this image

And I do

Often, and long

Alone

Mezmerized by a secret enchantment

I hide from family and friends—

My escape to this

singular island of contemplation.

What is it that so captures my eyes

Holds them fast

Makes me a hostage to such raw beauty?

After all,

it is only a distant rockpile,

unsteady and deformed.

But it is intoxicatingly bewitching.

I pose before this image,

trying to look my best

as nature, and nature’s God

take my picture.

I feel privileged,

just this band of soldiers

and me

Frozen in time,

locked in eternity’s gaze.

Simply analyzed,

It is a small band of soldiers

frantic to find a gap.

Pushing, jamming, urging

a mound of destruction to yield

They are all looking down,

working together —

too many, really, for the task.

I know this scene was staged

and I’ve seen the first one —

less dramatic for sure.

But this false hope, so honestly inspired,

so seizes my heart

that I throw myself into it

like a fanatic into a pagan religion.

God, I’m weeping!

Is it for these men, long dead?

For this war, long over?

I remember another Son

near the end of a cosmic battle,

lifting a rustic pole,

turned to the mourners:

“Do not weep for me.

Weep for yourselves

And for your children.”

So I obey HIm and

I weep for myself

For loving without feeling

For longing without depth

For sacrificing without hurt

For my silence

And for the shame to so cheaply live

in the shadow of this black silhouette

And I weep for our children,

Our sons  who fight under no clear banner

No standard-bearer’s majesty comes to them

rising up to their hope over a distant rise

No flag to hoist, no glory to wave

No pledge to echo from their brown voices

But, oh! The sands of Nineveh would easily

give way to a wooden shaft

Just as they did on Golgotha’s hill

My mind drifts, wind-blown,

To the One sacrifice

that makes Iwo Jima

Iwo Jima

 

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