Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Heaven Rest Them Now

Beside the silent water lies a green
expanse of grass, raw gashed, and granite scarred.
A deep black mirror gouged in glory there
reflects the great gorged beast unsated of
his glutton banquet, this sullied flesh and stone,
these many thousand souls more fortunate
than we escaping refugees, we maimed
of mind and limb and heart — at seventeen
but babes, at eighteen ageless witnesses
to lifetimes such as most will never see.

This visage without mercy, old as man,
revealed in polished stone, forever prowls
through shadowed valleys in man’s heart. Beloved,
unloving demon seeking endless gore
in sacrifice, is never satisfied
of death nor far removed from us who’ve known
the altar through his evil eyes ourselves.

The grief a hundred million mothers loose
will not allow the senses to be shut
against the murky Hell these red-shot holes
have stared across. A flood of perfumed rain
from all the world’s seas would never wash
the smell of blood from off this stone,
nor soothe the jagged wounds within this rock,
the tears with names, inscribed upon this face.

Copyright 1993 by Pete Freas.
All rights reserved.

A little about the poet:
Pete Freas is a Vietnam veteran; he served as a Navy gunship helo pilot (HAL-3) in the Mekong Delta (June 1969-June 1970) and did Combat search and rescue (HC-7) in Tonkin Gulf (January 1973-June 1973). In September 1991, Pete retired from the U.S. Navy as a Commander with 26 years of service.

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