by Benjamin B. White.
- We are the hollow men.
Dug into a circle of wasteland holes
Protecting a line in the jungle
Against a stealth enemy
Protecting the same line
In the same jungle,
But for different reasons.
And the line keeps moving –
The politics of decisions being made
Too far off to be effective
On either side,
Letting a horrific war trudge on
Through the protests,
Death and obscurity
To the promise
Of unity – reunification,
Freedom and independence,
And the erasing of invisible lines.
- We are the hollow men
Sustained by the Old Lie.
“Don’t think about that.”
- You know what I’m thinking?
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”
He was a mechanic in Korea
Combatting winter’s cold and summer’s heat
Fixing Jeep engines – changing oil and air filters
While the infantry sat stagnant
Along the front against Chinese Communist Forces
Until the day he was wounded
In a roadside explosion driving through
The countryside – turned over and ripped open
By shrapnel – most likely medicated
Back to health by morphine,
But that’s where Blake
Had to let imagination take over
To fill in the gaps about his father’s past –
The father who was overseas when Blake was born
Never to really return home –
Unable to make a home –
Instead filling the empty
Of a Kentucky hillside house.
- I’m just trying to understand
Where I came from.
“Just understand where you are –
That will be enough.”
“Think about me.
When you first saw me,
When you first put me together,
When your imagination needed me most .”
The jungle holds its secrets,
And an army full of American soldiers
Marching through the ancient vines
And roots and layers of seasons
Can never understand.
Soldiers are sent out to search and destroy,
But really they go out, make contact,
Get shot at, and send in the coordinates
So air support and artillery will have a purpose
And know where to napalm and bomb the countryside.
But if not for the infantry –
The troops patrolling the remote areas –
No-one would know where the enemy even was.
I can’t be distracted.
A cloud covers the moon,
Too high above to be concerned
With any human endeavors on the ground
Darkened by its journey
Of peaceful navigation
Above the jungle.
Gaps in the canopy are shadowed
By the natural silent-wake passage
Of individual elements
Gathering and condensing moisture –
A random shower
Is spilled in thick drops
On the upper leaves of dark trees,
And the water weighs heavy
To roll and splash
On the M16,
Unnaturally locked and loaded
And swearing at the weathers’
To not cooperate
Just to make the duty
(excerpted from the poem SCARECROW ANGEL…)