Irreversible

Who can measure
the cost of war?

How deep destruction
scars the human soul?

I see the trench lines
carved on fathers’ faces

the ghostly pallor
of mothers’ fear –

only the children sing
unaware, bending to fate

with graciousness;
grief’s shrapnel well buried

(Image my own. Tuesdays I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson)

Contemplating Rivers

The river will not be pushed
nor outrun – still I try

shattered pieces of my efforts
littering her banks…

Illness teaches that I cannot
flow with or keep up, but…

openness counts…the river
brings and she takes away

I am witness, beneficiary,
a voice, for her bounty, her power

Life is the river. It brings opportunity-
I partake or not; it moves on.

No use building walls; better to stand
at the edge with heart and mind willing.

Is Progress This?

Is this progress,
this decision to uproot,
cast possessions aside,
free ourselves of ties?

Can his dependency,
my dependency, endure
the transition, released
from former justifications?

We are companions
embarking on adventure,
companions retiring past
lies, redefining possibility

Or, is this more of the same,
artfully camouflaged –
a continuance of flight
from tyrannical origins?

The paths behind are jagged,
wrought with rocks and crevices
and scarred riddles, and yet;
have we not survived? Thrived?

The road ahead is expansive,
our home an ever-changing
landscape, as wide as a continent –
our minds eager to absorb…

This is progress;
we are unburdened,
free spirited, submitting
to new tests of truth.

(Poem first appeared in October, 2017. Image my own)

Strategy

One more train
and she’d be away
far enough
to lose him

Scavenged in her bag
searching for a ticket
and courage…
could use a dose of courage

Thought of her mother
how torn up she’d be;
of her sister, confined
to long-term care

Call for boarding
and a decision –
neck smarting from
last confrontation

He wielded his hands
like weapons. his words
like knives – her heart
a mass of bruises

What choice did she have?
Surely staying meant death,
but could she run forever?
Rage found new footing

Picked up her bag
hustled out of the station
Why should one man destroy her –
She needed a better strategy.

(Image my own)

Young Woman, I See

Young woman, I see your pain
remember a time when I too
struggled for autonomy, purpose

Wish I could reach across
the span of generations, mirror
the beauty that I see, release

the tangle of deception that binds,
facilitate your potential, help
advance your journey, lift you

beyond the clutter and noise
and deliver you to freedom, but
your book has not been written

and the chapters need to unfold
as they will, and I am no deity
who sees with clarity the path

you must choose, the destiny
that calls you – trust that life
is educational, and you bear

the resources to see your way
through; celebrate your hunger
and rejoice in your triumphs

I will watch with nostalgia
and the pride of recognition,
for your giftedness is real

your optimism a worthy tool,
and I know you will succeed –
have faith in your tomorrows

for you were born to shine
and the pages of your memoir
await experience’s depths.

(Young Woman, I See first appeared here in September, 2017. Image my own)