Collected Poems 18

To the Mothers of the Fallen

It is the season of the barren trees
The gossamer that floats over the damp sod.
This is the time when mothers don black attire
Walk across the frozen turf to the gaping womb
That awaits their sons.

We stand aloof inventing their grief
To suit our souls yet untouched by the ruthless wrench,
Watching their silken veils flutter in the wind.

Do not stand, Mother.
Sit and let the tears fall in salty streams
Across your streaked wearied face,
Taste the salt of tears and wail loud
Across deaf space to the uncaring trees.

No pain to match yours
On losing your son—to have to offer him
To unkind war, the thief that tore him
From your breast.
What void will the loss
Of your synchronized heartbeats
Bring about?

There is no solace, no word, no comfort
To take away the gnaw of loss
You have come to know.

Near you we sit weeping,
Reaching for your hands.
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