The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Category : Poems

Final Forgetting: The Essence of Memorial Day

One face wept

reddened and smeared with tears

tracking their way through a deep network

of wrinkled and spotted cheeks

The drops of grief cascaded

Through the corners of wrinkled lips

Burrowed down through a wrinkled chin with a fractured assortment of irregularities,

Finally trickling down an odd, deep scar that made one jowl not quite the same as the other.

And so the pattern of tears on his shirt was uneven.

 

Another face lay, composed,

Eyes closed,

Though if they had looked on that irregular scar facing him, he could have told the tale of its origin.

Indeed, his was the only face who knew the scar’s tale, save but for its owner.

But his wrinkled eyes were closed,

and no amount of coaxing,

Or cajoling,

No amount of bluster or force

Would open them now.

 

He lay there, not recognizing the scar

Nor the face upon which the scar marked the passage of violence healed,

Nor this anguish.

Nor even its owner’s presence.

There was no remorse left in him to weep away the regret for the years it had been since they’d last spoken.

These two faces set,

against each other across death’s chasm.

 

They had known each other in a different form for precisely 2 years, thirteen days, and six hours.  Young faces they had been then, at the beginning, unknowing of the dark things of life, thrown together in a strange world,

for reasons neither fully comprehended,

for a time neither could fully remember,

for a fight neither fully understood.

They arrived with a naive lust for the fight.

They left with old men’s wisdom – scarred, twisted, brutal wisdom.

They left with the understanding that a wise violence is a reluctant fight.

 

For 60 years each face looked out at the other, frozen in memory.

unbidden,

unexpected,

unforgotten,

For sixty years, each face was remembered in the dreams of the other, a comrade through the nightmares that only they knew.

 

Two old men met face to face

looking hardly at all like the last time they’d spoken.

One bandaged

One splinted,

Separated by transport and medics.

What they had said, without speaking, was “Thank you.  Remember me”.

 

And then there were only memories.

And intentions.

 

Now one stood, head bent

tears falling in the silent anguish of loss.

The other lay silently closed in death

Light extinguished.

Memory dissipated.

That spiritual realm none may see was now its home.

Too long.

Too late.

 

The living stood there, finally forgotten.

Left behind by death.

So he remembered for both of them.

And in remembering, he wept his loss.

Face reddened and smeared with tears.

 

-2017, Glenn Roesener

The Mighty Viking

For Sale:

I saw a sign, seemed strange to me.

“For sale”, it said, in bold marquee

The sign nailed tight, upon this tree

(For sale, it was, it was not free)

 

So wild and free, and yet it’s not

A hundred thousand dollars bought.


This sign its sale and purchase sought

(For sale, this tree, upon its lot)

 

Afraid I am, this tree will die,

Hacked and hewn by some old guy.

The lot, it seems, is all that’s free

(At least, the sign says that to me)

 

On down the road, I had a thought,

about some trees upon their lot.

 

When Freedom’s dream is trapped and caught

When Freedom’s child is sold and bought

When Freedom’s bloom has been forgot

When Freedom’s blood has come to nought

 

A treeless lot is not an awful lot.

 

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It Wasn’t My Intent

It wasn’t my intent to wake you

With stumbling around in the night

But now that you’re up

Can I brew you a cup

And sit with you here in the dawn’s gentle light?

 

It wasn’t my intention to burn

The potatoes and parts of the toast

But talking with you over morning news

I may have been somewhatly over-bemused

and held by your company over-engrossed.

 

It wasn’t my meaning to intervene

and fiddle and fret with your plans

The worry I express

is considerably less

than the fussing I spent on the burnt frying pan.

 

It wasn’t my meaning to overindulge

on the cookies you left on the rack

T’was not just the taste 

that made them erased

but thinking of you took me wistfully back.

 

To when I intended to wed you

and time with you ran at a prime

the things that you baked

became feelings that waked

the thought of you all of the time.

 

It wasn’t my aim to unload

these troubles at the end of the day

I was really just groping

for a way of eloping

just us two, together forever away

 

I certainly didn’t want to bore you

with singing and playing this guitar

I took your quiet to mean you want more

imagine my shock when you started to snore

But you’ve got to rest for tomorrow’s morning star

 

Which I certainly did NOT mean to wake you for.

So, while you were sleeping, there was this.

 

 

 

Yes Dear

Yes, Dear.

I say it despite knowing
the joke of the man so stripped of confidence
that he values himself so poorly
his capitulation captures the derision of everyone.

Yes Dear,
Because I trust that you know this
that you don’t want a man
who is no man,
Who eschews his manhood
Who rages against being who he is
Because I trust that you believe in this man
And whose dignity and masculinity is important to you.

Yes Dear.
I trust this, and trust you.
to take what I give, and return it to its place
having packed my admission of devotion
with your own admission of acceptance
and returned to me an equal measure of devotion
to the Thing that we are
together.

Yes Dear.
Because there is no distinction between you.
and me
We are a Thing unto itself, that cannot be separated
That will not be separate
To say “Yes Dear” to you
is to trust that I am, through you,

saying Yes to myself
This is how We are,

Yes Dear.
is not a denial of my own pride
nor a submission of one soul to another
But rather a statement of pride
in the Us
in the Trust
that you and I are equal participants in We.

Fair winds ride

wind ride 3

The wind from the east is but a wind from the west

bested by throttle,  soul dispossessed

spirit set free turns to wind on my chest

race the horizon, freedom undressed.

Pull of the curve, power compressed

gravity’s laws are put to the test

Howl of the wolf taut muscles obsessed

chase down your quarry, victim possessed.

Full moon overhead, heaven’s bequest

Night Ride purifies, moon goddess’s guest

sins of the daytime brought here to confess

Midnight reflections sets the mind at rest.

The wind from the west is but a wind from the east

bested by throttle, Sanity leased

Days in the wind for my soul’s release

The falcon sent hunting, finds spiritual feast.

wind ride (1)

The Stupid Dog

Charlie

At 7am, demanding the door

with the restless snuffles and scratch on the floor

bleary and weary I dress for the chore

of letting the dog go out to explore

At 9am with the dew on the grass

showers of dirt from the garden fly past

unseen vermin, escape way too fast

the dog’s disappointed, and I stand aghast

At 12 in the midday, sun overhead

rusted squeak of the mailbox being fed

reason enough to wake up the dead

with an outburst of snarling, terror and dread

In the heat of the day, the late afternoon.

dinner is served, or should be real soon.

sooner is better, depends on for whom

paws on the counter foretell certain doom

Evening rests dreamy in the family hut

food is all eaten, the kitchen is shut.

tortuous, repast rumbles the gut

stench in the room – it comes from the mutt.

Day-weary humans, devoted pup

retire for the evening, he’s not allowed up

left on the floor, the ostracized cub

licks hand anyway, ignoring the snub

4am comes, drenched in nightmare’s sweat

demons come haunting the battle-scarred Vet

canine nuzzles the face beset

 muzzle lies heavy on the heart upset

hand stroking fur till comfort forgets.

hand stroking fur till love forgets

hand stroking fur, companions forget

hand stroking fur till mourning forgets

hand stroking fur, morning forgets.

Oasis

Oasis
Desert traces
Seeking shelter from the swelter,
in my love’s embraces

Garden
Winter’s pardon
Seeking Grace from War’s disgrace
Heals the battle-hardened

Meadow
Summer’s pillow
Flowered vase for love’s embrace
Devotion’s languid billows

Lips
Emotion’s ships
Oasis charted,
Garden started
Meadow gartered
Loneliness’ eclipse

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The Paper Hat Parade

image Somewhere in the Caribbean:

The clouds come scudding across a timeless sky, an armada of impish children riding with the mysterious breath of unseen mothers, little boys with paper hats, Sailing from unseen waters, where those mothers gather of a Sunday morn, and blow their babies kisses, and blow all the joy in their hearts and lungs into these bassinets, and send them off to play, to grow, to age, and maybe in time to weep their sorrow and return home to their mothers, sunburned sailors, battle-worn soldiers, traveling wizards with the dew of life in their bosom.

And yet, today they are but children, and I dream here on an island in the midst of their silent child’s’ parade. I’ve sailed the place of their birth, I’ve traveled the lands of their death.

But here in-between, I watch them pass as a father, wishing to play with them, quietly laughing at their pretend severity, hoping for them to grow strong shoulders, wishing I could be with them as they frolic, and mature, tip and taunt the fisherman, plunder the earth, and woo Life Itself from the farmers seeds. I know their end, and want to weep with them as they weep their Last Sorrow, as if they were mine.

But I do not grieve. I make a paper hat, and stand face-on into the Mother’s-breath of this Sea, and wait.

Poseidon’s waves will carry their souls back to the Beginning, and they will be born and blown again, by laughing, loving, breathful mothers of the Sea, They will adventure again. I wish nothing but to ride in their midst for the adventure.

4am Stories

 

The stories that come to me at 4 in the morning, to be told
Do not come to me to be told to someone else
They wish, like all stories in my head, to be heard, but I cannot tell them to others.
They are full of cold, of grey things that should have color.
Things that did have color. My 4am stories are stories of color lost
of Hope, forgotten.

But they will not let me forget.
These stories come back, look over my back. Wanting to get out and play with the others
But they do not play well with others, these cold, grey stories.
No, they make others go all cold and color drains from the lips of the storytellers

8am stories are full of anticipation. They yawn, and stretch, and smile through sleepy eyelids, remembering that the new day brings new things, fun things, joy and brilliance, dazzling in the morning sun.

Noon stories are full of Today – of the way of things happening now.  One moment I’m telling a story , the next it is being made.  Stories of weather, or the pranks of the day, of the smile, or kiss, or the touch of a hand still warm and fresh on my lips. 

Dinner stories are full of exertion, of telling the tale of success, of industry, things that has been done, that must be rested from, but from which great satisfaction has come.

In the evening, with friends I remember, memories of acquaintances I’ve had, or that I have now, things that are connected through this busy day, or of yesterday.  Evening stories are melancholy, rich fields ready for harvest.

In the midnight hour my stories are hushed, sleeping tales of bravery, epic heroes, requited love, flowing poems of deeds and dreams. The midnight hour is the time of my muse.

But when the waking growl of the log trucks break through the distant muffling fog, the 4am stories have already stricken me speechless

Sleepless horrors still unspeakable
Stories without words,
drowned in the watery depths of the sea
These stories can never share – should never be shared.

The cold creeps up from the Deep.
The grey falls down, the fading flicker of dying hope.

I am caught where they meet, in their steel jaw.

In a watery tomb my body grows cold

My mind becomes grey

An unwilling patron of an awful, eternal theater.

Father’s love, Love’s Daughter.

Daughter plays upon the heath

Father’s watchful gaze beneath

Innocence a halo’s wreath

Kept aloof by sword and sheath

Daughter wayward flees

Climbs aloft amidst the trees

Sword cast down, abandoned seas

Father’s guard exchanged for pleas

Daughter love her Father gives

Daughter’s love and Grace forgives

Pain and sorrow, love outlives

Freeing love, hate falls captive

Father lets his daughter go

kiss a memory, free her soul

Child to Woman, heaven’s glow

Another child begins to grow

Father watches time pass by

Daughter’s love is grace’s eye

Wife and husband edified

Father’s love is testified