I've been writing this poem since Remembrance Day. I'm still so conflicted about what has happened, what is happening now in the States. I think this piece reflects that. Make of it what you will.
By then, her knuckles were thick and gnarled,
but the needle piercing her quilt scraps -
was sure as an old woman's prayer.
"Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah," she would intone -
over the television, as if President Jimmy Carter -
spoke with the voice of Almighty God.
"Never voted Republican once in my life."
Neither have I. It wasn't enough.
I should be there now.
Her talk of Japs and negroes was an embarrassment.
She begged me not to marry "a German."
World War II and the Civil Rights Movement -
writ small on a woman I loved.
"Greatest country on Earth," she would say,
omitting subject and verb, as the Star-Spangled Banner -
sang the network to sleep.
White gulls cling to a grey sky.
I am surrounded by the wild, North Atlantic.
Leonard Cohen's ghost clogs my throat.
"Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah."
The Last Good War has a successor now,
and its soldiers are imperfect as the ones who came before.
Let us not become weary in doing good,
but if Normandy looms, and the guns of the enemy deafen -
let us also remember that flesh is soft, wants to live, craves peace.
Thank you, sea, for wrapping the Rock in your icy grip.
Keep us safe.