poetry for the ear in the
tradition of Homer
Click on the title above to hear the reading by the poet.
Inspired by the instrumental musical cycle, Fratres, by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, and by the mountain bluegrass music loved by PFC Kenneth McReynolds, USMC, who died half a century ago in Yong Dong Po, Korea, too far from Kentucky.
Where they fought a seeming century ago in black and white.
Back then blood and the lipstick of movie stars looked black,
And all were brothers in a cause they swore they'd cross the Styx for.
There they lived and fought in moral danger past despair.
They believed in flinty, inorganic creeds that,
Never having lived, could never really die.
Believed. Loved. Mostly loved.
And sometimes died.
Imagine then, one morning, soup in tin cans warming hands
To dreadful tasks ahead for the day. First
There was McReynolds on guard duty the night before.
Piano wire. Kentucky bluegrass in his head now silent.
And then, ah! then there was the dead enemy's face,
Intent, supine forever toward his own Korean sky until they
Dumped his own soil on his eyes, spade after spade.
Since they had loved, and sometimes died themselves,
Their later noontime darkness of the soul
Could never quite obscure the little light of inner sky
Where those same fields would lie fallow in the mind,
Ready for a life of sun and seed in some future
Year of their reunion, to be shot in Kodachrome
When death bells would have ceased their knells,
And blood would once again mean brotherhood
And not that warm and sticky stuff
That covered their hands back then, and would do so
Forty years thenceforward in their dreams.
Agamemnon must have known the feeling,
Coming home unclean at sunset. Had they known,
They could have hoped the price of freedom
Would not be quite so high for them.
"Remember the Alamo!" - trick is, how to forget?.
Sun Valley, California
Copyright 2003, 2004 Walter Rufus Eagles. All rights reserved.