|Poetry & ProsePoetry & Prose OnlineNancy Heath
Mothers Wear the Willow
Standing at the sliding glass door, staring at my garden,
observing Mourning Doves searching for seeds
and Cardinals red against the snow, I am disquieted by the
din of Desert Storm hi-tech war games transmitted on my TV.
Dear Lord, not another war!
Plaintive cries of wood notes lowing at the blush of day
sound a vigil in the well-spring of my womb.
Mourning Doves anguish in forebodings
obliterating rapture to dim obscurity, and I
remember teardrop pendants that rewarded deeds
of blood laid waste under slabs of gray.
In sweet groves, Mothers wear the Willow.
Honor, duty summoned roughs in trenches to walk tall.
Sons chased Rommel's desert rats in Africa.
The Big Red "1" hit Omaha beach at Normandy on D-Day
under intense fire of artillery and deadly sniper action
directed toward every leader and man on the beach.
You, my darling, prevailed cliffs with Nazi guns exploding in all directions.
Their was no escape! Fight on! Fight on! Fight like hell!
Your humble entreaties to God gave courage to you and your men.
Always your men? Take care of your men! Protect your men!
Mortality gripped your best friend torn in half by machine gun fire.
"Oh, no! Not David!"
Hearts shattered like Kristallnacht, "Night of Broken Glass."
"Men, fight on for David! He must not die in vain."
In sweet groves, Mothers wear the Willow and weep.
You fought the war to end all wars, ending in 1945,
and returned (you were one of the few lucky ones),
decorated with Silver Stars, Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Stars.
You did not speak of atrocities or accolades.
Your flashbacks paid tribute to your unsung heroes.
Holocaust avengers gained moral victory over the inhumanity of war.
A requiem was the only consolation for the shorn of Vietnam,
who rallied like white ensigns in the bellows of crimsoned
horizons and a nation embarrassed.
The Korean War, was it the Forgotten War?
Not much comfort to the men who fought so bravely.
The imponderables of war remain unmeasured
as olive branches smeared with oil smolder under Babylon's sky.
Desert Storm, December 1990; Strike in the Gulf, January 1993;
Renewed strike, June 27, 1993; and it goes on, and on, and on!
Obsolete, barbaric custom, the futility of war.
Cast no more hoary shadows on our greenness,
no more bags of dismembered branches,
no more black walls concealed.
Please Dear Lord, bring our troops back alive!
Will Alexander's greatness sanctify the soil of black gold
as the Cankerworm crawls cunning toward Armageddon?
In sweet groves, Mothers wear the Willow and weep and weep and weep.