Category Archives: Poetry
I lost a high school friend to the war in Vietnam and wrote this poem for him after seeing his name on The Moving Wall Memorial.
THE MOVING WALL
We visit The Wall the one they
pull apart cart around and lay
to rest for seven days in far
off sections of a country that
arms boys and hauls them off to
war. The women who sit in the tent
with furious July sun blazing on their
kindness give us a print out with your
name Meade, Thomas Allerton uniformly
typed below the bold faced Etched In Stone
that embodies the exhibit. My eyes cruise the page
the way your ’63 Chevy sought out chicks and my
knees begin to buckle when I capture the words
HOSTILE, DIED ARTILLERY, ROCKET, MORTAR.
A deluge of images from nightly news explode before
me and I finally discharge your death and that god
forsaken war as a rocket fire of tears flash over my face
while I whimper across the green toward The Wall.
And there you are Thomas A. Meade
standing guard on line 62 panel 37 E.
Sitting on a bench I snatch up tissues
from a box that sidles beside me
as the WELCOME HOME
in a bitter breeze.
(c) Carol Weis
His yearbook photo.
I took the rubbing from the Vietnam Memorial in DC.
Today is my mom’s birthday.
She would have been 95.
This is how I like to remember her…
and the jar…it’s to my ear.
MUSIC OF HER LOVE
Hanging up the phone after
chatting with my mom I want
to seize our conversation and
place it in a jar one of those
twelve-sided All Fruit beauties
I save and I’ll set it on the
top shelf of my refrigerator
knowing I will take it out
later in the day. Opening the
lid I’ll nestle the rim to my ear
the sweetness of my mother’s
voice swirling inside her
lilting words a cherished
lullaby and I will carry it
to my room where the
music of her love like
postcards sent to tuck
me in on this cold drab
January night will softly
sing me to sleep.
© Carol Weis, all rights reserved
I thought this would be a fitting first post on my blog, the poem written and read by Richard Blanco at the inauguration of President Obama’s second term:
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper — bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives — to teach geometry, or ring up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.
All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.
One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes
The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind — our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.
Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across cafe tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me — in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always — home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country — all of us –
facing the stars
hope — a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it — together