Words Like Soldiers

We can’t catch the dawn
or chase night to its safe retreat.
We face an incoming army,
troops of words like soldiers
marching across the once green land,
the music of poetry driven underground.
Their forces move in lock-step
as we withdraw into darkness
with stories of ancient times,
leaving behind the dry dust of logic,
a wasteland of abandoned dreams.
Who will remember the fires at midnight,
the heroics of song and verse?
We join with stone in the birthplace of water,
awaiting the earthquake of color
upon whose shattering tide
we will one day rise.




photograph by Jim Frid


10 Responses to “Words Like Soldiers”

  1. Louis MacKenzie says:

    My students here at ND did a nice job analyzing an earlier version of this one. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Rose Meeker says:

    Love it! The fires at midnight, the honouring of the seasons…

  3. You are reflecting on Trumpisms, I am sure….

  4. admin says:

    Not really my friend.

  5. Lloyd Meeker says:

    We remember that words are built to carry soul, and its music. Words without soul — even if they pretend beauty, truth or righteousness — are empty. There is a terrible penalty for spreading them, which accrues without bias or clemency: to suffocate in empty words that pour down faster than breathing.

    The armies of soulless words are immense, but they scatter like autumn leaves (and less beautiful!) when soul speaks and soul hears.

    Keep writing, Don!

  6. James Frid says:

    Thank you for choosing one of my photos, Don. It is one of my favorites. I’m glad you saw the poetry that I meant to convey. I remember the fires at midnight kept alive by hearts unmoved expressing ferocity honestly conceived.

  7. Elizabeth O Nunn says:

    As I read this, I envisioned myself, rock solid and steady, experiencing the ghost army…soulless, mindless, heartless, passing through and around leaving the detritus of words in their wake. The stench is awful but the wind continues to blow and breathing eases. The army has no substance so I do not engage. I save my strength, my energy for the rising.
    Meanwhile, I think I’ll go plant some flowers.

  8. Mark Dellamano says:

    Beautiful, Don. A poem that deserves to be reread regularly as a reminder of how the toxic ripple of constant chatter constricts our deeper thoughts, and, might I add, so apropos of Franklin Foer’s encomium to Mary Oliver in this week’s Atlantic — http://bit.ly/2JBUNx0. Apologies for introducing a thought from mainstream media but, on occasion, the thought warrants it.

  9. David Barnes says:

    I can tell by the largeness of Spirit which infuses this poem Don, that this is the day! I feel it in the mounting pressure patterns, and I see it and hear it in the lightnings and thunderings which hearld the presence of a mighty Voice, which is right now speaking in words which make all things new. And I hear it in the Voice of your words – and the Word of its sounding brings earthquakes and tsunamis on the “shattering tide” – and, as Rilke says, “the storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on.” Yes – this is the day!

  10. James says:

    Buckle your seat belts !

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