Monday, May 31, 2021

New Murfin Verse for Memorial Day—Stack Arms

Note—I have been too engaged wrapping up my Chicago Seed memoir series to even re-edit and recycle any of my Memorial Day posts.  There will always be next year to review the history and ponder the sacrifices.  But after I posted the vintage Memorial Day card above as my Facebook cover for the weekend I was struck by brief inspiration.

Stack Arms

Memorial Day 2021


Once wars ended with neat stacked arms—

            muskets with gleaming bayonets

            leaning in tidy cones like

            old-time sheaves of wheat

            for weaponless soldiers to pass by

            on their way to other lives.


Officers’ swords were surrendered,

            broken over a knee,

            taken as souvenirs

            or gallantly returned

            on condition that they

            never draw blood again.


But how, oh how, can we stack—     

            cruise missiles, smart bombs, drones,

            land mines, gasses, biological agents,

            not to mention all of the

            great fleets, bombers, fighters,

            choppers, tanks,

            and those barely acknowledged nukes.


Do we fail to stack them aside

            simply because it would be untidy?


—Patrick Murfin


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