Silently Across the Night

Silently Across the Night

                                                                                                   Our Regal Rouge Regina


Moving silently across the night-dark earth,
Fires burn ever,
Fluttering banners, gold and red, to mark the dead,
Ever brighter,
Projected onto shifting smoke,
Ever hotter.
An ever-changing, tattered screen, white, gray, black,
Consuming all.
No animal, no insect, no blade of grass remains
For eyes to see.
Glimpses through wind-blown billows, voids,
Eyes of warriors.
Flashes of violence, apprehended, veiled,
Eyes of lovers.
Sudden, graphic brutality, like a video,
Eyes of the dead.
Unnecessary, yet expected.
Who remains,
To see, to remember?
When fortresses shine upon the hill,
Who pays the butcher’s bill?

Match long struck.
Fuse grown short.
Mired in muck.
No last resort.

Smoke and thunder reign,
Cries of hope,
Cries of pain.
Bullets battering flesh, a ravenous rain.
Ignited by fear,
A clangorous cacophony
All that’s heard.
Greed and lust
All that’s known.
Peace usurped by hatred, ignorance, insanity,
Leaving no witness,
But fire,
Crackling, hissing, then silent.
All we apprehend,
At the last.

Match long struck.
Fuse grown short.
Mired in muck.
No last resort.

Who decides,
When and where to fan the flames?
A fire fueled
By hubris,
Hunger for power,
No chance, no choice, no redemption.
Fed by soldiers.
Fed with soldiers.
Misguided saviors and precious resource;
Raised on propaganda, pride of place, patriotism.
All isms soon riven.
Full of infinite promise.
So very young,
Not bold, but blind,
Weaned on warfare,
Boasts of battles won, bravery and braggadocio.
Burned to cinders
To feed misanthropic misers.
Flinty eyes weighing
None but their own.
Corrupting our hearth,
Our homes.

Exhausted, soot obscures
All not hidden by our blinders.
No reminders.
Thunder bolts stab our eyes,
Still the ears
Of future ancestors.
Our past,
Children all, once young, fair or dark,
Snuffed by secrets whispered in the dark,
Concealing reason,
Murdering truth and beauty.

Do we believe?
Do we dare?
Do we grieve?
Do we care?

Bombs and bullets shrieking, crashing, whistling and hissing,
Seal us within ourselves
Define us,
Shatter our thought and reason,
Our supplications
And prayers.
Confused, alone,
Together in our separation, no cessation.
We embrace,
Our embraced,
By death’s
Tender caress —
Felled by
Death’s violent blow.
No one may know.
Silently, we vanish
In raging fire,
Oily smoke,
Fearsome thunder.
No further life,
Our world asunder.

Do we believe?
Do we dare?
Do we grieve?
Do we care?

How we have confused our story, pain and glory.
Victory a traitor,
An illusion,
Fostering confusion.
Barefoot urchins, we place ourselves at the pinnacle of creation.
Mere imitations,
Though some compare,
Name us gods, in their despair.
Tossing thunderbolts
Instead of balls.
Such dangerous toys
For those who believe, call themselves men.
Who remain boys,
Shouting in triumph,
Crying in defeat,
For motherland,
For fatherland,
Nation or tribe,
Race ethnicity.
Gender engendered,
Violence, intolerance, hate and fear,
Created ignorance,
Till none remember why.

Will we find salvation if only one remembers?
Or is it become too late,
For us, the other?
In propaganda vilified,
Rendered alien and evil,
Though they are friends,
Or nearby neighbors.
The enemy,
Our enemy
Starkly painted,
Neither redemption,
Nor any redeeming features,
Not flesh and blood,
We have been provided evidence in profusion.
Not us,
Not you or I.
Yet secretly, we know they lie.
No hope,
No home or hearth,
No laughter,
Neither family,
Nor love.

What is evil?
Can we see?
Is it them?
Or you and me?

Smiling faces and open eyes,
In the cloud-dreams of our youth.
Now our occulted truth.
Bloody, bludgeoned by bigotry, left for dead,
Our anxiety grown out of all proportion.
Stoked by rumor,
Fed by lies,
Festering and drawing flies.
Told so often,
Fear inspired,
Our liturgy of repetition
Embellished with passion, emotion,
A magic potion, never,
Never to admit,
Accept or acknowledge.
Them, the heinous other,
Are like us, our sisters, brothers,
Are us!
By power pandered
To them we are equally slandered.
All context lost,
Unimaginable cost.

What is evil?
Can we see?
Is it them?
Or you and me?

Will our lone history, our lone memory last, hold true,
Remember and represent?
All that we are, have been
And might still become.
The strength of oral history
Spoken of the past,
Into the future.
Not written by the winners.
No written at all.
Entrusted to a wise elder,
Our true history, our story.
A speaker for the dead.
Where only truth is said.
Day by day,
Hour by hour,
Courted by eager children,
Hoping to be chosen.
Apprenticed to this noble task,
This sacred honor.
To learn our tale, adding to it,
Moment by precious moment.
Each one, only now,
Yet always potentially momentous.
Courting change, embracing.
The fiery bride, bold groom.
The furtive glance, the chance,
Chance to change, to rearrange
Our priorities and stories.
Those stories we tell ourselves,
Each other.
And in doing this,
Alter our purpose,
Our very being.

Each instant, each one for us, of us,
To start a life.
Or end one, hope lost, hope found,
Plans, schemes, new dreams and memes.
Soft sighs, startled screams,
Obvious, though perhaps not what they seem.
Surprise, cold, shocking, unknown,
One to greet life,
One to deny death, if only one second.
Each succeeds
After its own passion,
Common fashion.
Each might hope to survive,
Or to slip and slide away.
Another day walking with the reaper,
Promise keeper.
Being led to holy mansions,
With deep dungeons.
And always we protest,
Or laugh along to this infinite jest.

Not all, but many, most,
In high dungeon, red-faced,
Stammer, stutter,
Hands aflutter.
Crying foul, unfair,
We seek exemption,
Extension, redemption,
A gold star on our forehead, a pat on the crown.
Eons past,
As eons passed.
Yet, through time and lives beyond imagination,
We have repeatedly failed,
Failed to learn,
Spurned the truth, explained
How it could not apply to us.

Do we believe?
Do we dare?
Do we grieve?
Do we care?

Our finale awaits, our final resting place.
Reserved only for us.
A pit, a hole, a crypt, or never found.
Some say, high above,
In the sky, floating
Upon fluffy clouds.
Yet clouds which darken,
Weeping, wrung dry,
With and without all light,
Black or white,
The sky itself reflecting
Here and now,
Why we know
And how.
Still, we convince ourselves we are immortal.
Only others
Face that final portal.

No matter what we hope or believe,
Whether or not we are shrived,
No one gets out alive.
No one may decline
Death’s engraved invitation.
Nor would most willingly choose
To exit the stage
Neither noticed nor remembered, nor remarked upon.
Would reject, push aside
The hook, extended from the wings,
To yank us from the boards.
But launch into an improvised monologue,
A grand gesture, emotive chewing of the scenery.
To leave something, anything behind.
A piece of ourselves, memento mori.
Express our creative impulse,
To create or to destroy,
Our satori
Of meaning, madness,
Cacophony, confusion, chaos.
To be remembered by history,
As long as anyone or anything may be remembered.
No matter
Whether they laud us,
Slay us,
Glorious ad perpetuam. Ours only, alone,
Perpetually lonely,
Prisoners within our meat shells.
Such limitless restrictions,
A living hell.

When my time comes upon me,
Unlooked-for, yet expected,
When I must depart.
Each return a new start.
My body’s atoms drifted to dust,
Married to the soil, sea and sky,
New life, new growth, hope.
All scattered, myriad
Galaxies, stars,
Like ashes
Spread upon stormy waters.
Absorbed, transformed,
Harsh or healing
Stardust, star stuff,
Renewing all,

Will there be time?
Will there be time?
To unlearn what we have been told,
Refuse, return the shoddy goods
We have been sold?

Match long struck.
Fuse grown short.
Deep in muck.
No last resort.
Do we believe?
Do we dare?
Do we grieve?
Do we care?
What is evil?
Can we see?
Is it them?
Or you and me?


Peace is Purpose, Nonviolence is Strength, Diversity is Unity, Empathy is Empowerment


Please, leave a comment and let me know what you think.

See more of my creative offerings and opinions at:

Brent Harris Fine Art

Philip Brent Digital Art

Vida Voices

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