17 February, 2007

More than a Few Ruffled Feathers...
Serendipitous - Our friends over at Merriam-Webster have this to say about the root word "serendipity":
Main Entry: ser·en·dip·i·ty Pronunciation: -'di-p&-tE Function: noun Etymology: from its possession by the heroes of the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.
The last few days I have been reading an posting on other BLOGS and cleaning up some overdue correspondence. Most of the writing has been involved with veterans and the current iteration of the Holy War that continues to plague the Middle East and the eastern Horn of Africa.
While sharing a specific war related poem, reflecting a conversation with a Viet Nam era vet, my close friend , Peter (http://www.nyx.net/~pforss/index.htm) shot back an e-mail asking if I had sent a copy to the vet for whom I had written the poem. DUH!!! I immediately sent him a copy of the poem, (which follows in this post) and received a warm and thoughtful response (which also follows in this post.) Meanwhile, I found link to http://gatheringofeagles.org/ , their logo graces the head of this post. I also revisited the Virtual Wall Memorial website where my closest High School friend's death is remembered here:
I am sharing all of this for one very specific reason. No matter on which side of the socio-political spectrum one sits, stands or shouts-out-loud, I do truly believe that respect for those who have fallen in defense of this country and those hallowed places which memorialize them, must not be defiled.
The folks who will gather on 17 March 2007 to protect that long black wall from any foul desecration deserve support. I urge those who can to join them, those who cannot to get the word out and those who can afford to send funds, to do so without reservation.
Here shared, my reasons why I support the upcoming "Gathering of Eagles" :
Remove Formatting from selectionKansas Eyes

I thought 'twas done. Forty years spent
Walking with ghosts, hearing the tales.
Once mute, lost voices rise in autumn light.
Over coffee I was pierced when I plumbed the depths,
His haunted, ice blue Kansas eyes.
He spoke of joy in flying over these high plains.
His ragged tooth smile, his modulated radio voice and
A heart that tends a hedgerow tall and strong.
Born in pheasant farm memories when Mithras called,
Tossed a farm boy, yet a man, into the killing fields.
French Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia:
Soggy, fetid dark green jungle folded rank;
Shadowy nether world, Old World, older than Christ.
Called him to unknown flesh and a festering war.
It tore a bloody, twisted screaming wound.
It ne'er was healed, that stinking wound.
It's septic, fouled puss still flows;
Infects and sickens his beloved home.
I saw it in his eyes today, haunted manhood's
Sour wine racked in long memory.
I saw it in dark rimmed hollows,
Sad and distant ice blue Kansas eyes.
Drawn close, new bloody born;
Remembered in quiet conversation
Fresh, over coffee hot and apple pie.
A cigarette glows, the traffic groans
In rhythmic haste. Now my soul eyes
These words drawn here, remembering
That cold, long black wall of names.
As once again, war's red fire set aflame.

Tom's response:

'tis not so long since floods of memory clouded my eyes, but your poem did it just that way.

I, and the 59,000 brethern would be honored to be associated with those words.

Back in '82, I ventured to Washington DC, to do battle with the business mavens of my profession at the time, and while there, I visited The Wall. It was berift of any lights, flag, grass, nor statues... it didn't even have a proper sidewalk.

As I thumbed through the dog-eared pages of the "book" on either end, and came across old friends, I made my way down hallowed tablets of numbered stone, the better to find them all. At one point, I just bloody well SAT DOWN and cried my eyes out, trying to cover my face in the worn jungle hat, I'd stuffed into my suitcase. Passers by, tried not to stare, and some understood - that's when a fellow who had been sitting under a tree in the afternoon shade, came up... placed his hand on my shoulder and said those amazing words, that nobody had ever uttered.

"Welcome Home" he said

- and that began the voyage back to pasture and pond... the halcyon days of my youth, armed with naught but fishing pole and bare feet in the warm mud of a Summer's day - chasing madly after those lost days of a peach-fuzzed young man from a wheat field.

Bless You - Tom
Yes indeed, more than just a few ruffled feathers await those who, for whatever reason, see fit to attmpt desecration of sacred ground.

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