Sunday, November 05, 2017

Like a Poppy

Perfect from root to flower.
From swollen feet,
sunk in the soft, deep mud of these raped farms
that kept you in trenches
unable to move on,

up through your leaves
dressed out in just that tone of green
that when it touched your skin
could show with certainty that death had come
to ease your suffering and take you home

up to your fragile flower
paper thin, trembling with the shock of war
and its bulls-eye, grainy and black
signing an entry wound
perfect in head or heart

that brought in sudden quiet
instant transition from the muddy hell
maybe to lightness and to Light.
Though most of you crawled off in long, slow moving pain
life slowly leaking back to earth

joining a lonely choir of screams and groans
crying for mother or for God
as you lay out in perfect agony,
hour after hour alone
waiting for death

unless some kind sharp-shooter from your side,
maddened by screaming babes,
could pin your forehead with a poppy hole
or some quiet Quaker crawled to you
to give you opium and bring you home.

Cut poppies bleed the cure for pain.
In complex shame, their head hangs down;
there's not enough in all of Flanders' fields
to meet the needs of war,
or quieten leaders' minds.

Insanity still rules the world of men
still we take perfect orders from above
' our inner selves can sense is false
still we pour out out onto the ground
a bitter sacrifice of human blood,

and trembling hearts are torn
by priests of paper power
held up to angry skies
on knives of lies and false ideas.

Still we obey.

© Richard Lawson
November 5, 2017

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