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Issue 43/44 : January - June, 2009 : Volume 11 No 3/4

Allan David Goldschmidt

A Man on the Wall

Part 1

Here’s to
Here’s to the cover up
Here’s to the lies we’ve yet to expose
Here’s to
Here’s to the man on the wall
Here’s to the flag that waves half-mast
On the flagpole on the wall alongside him
Here’s to the Fall
Where green apples hang pie-eyed
From tree branches low on the horizon.
Here’s to the wearied path
Unseen through the rubble of war
Here’s to a world
On the edge of the great abyss.
Here’s to
Here’s to the napalm, the bombs
That fell that hapless night
Took to bended knee, one last survivor
Here’s to the many wars
That may never cease to be
Here’s to every round of mortar shell fire
Mindlessly exploding
Landing on the brink of bloody aftermath;
Here’s to our boys and girls,
Men, women, and children;
Here’s to the drowning pool of blood;
The great sinking sea: the great flood
A body of water sinking deep
Into a shrinking vessel of earth and sand
The pit where life meets death one last time.

But here’s to
Here’s to the truth
Of what is known
That is and shall forever be.
And here’s to
A few enlightened men
Who’ve seen the truth;
Looked spellbound into the eye
Of that all-blinding light
And know the difference
Between truth and the lies
That men still live by.

Part II

Here’s to
Here’s to the children
Of the new dawn
Now separated from loved ones: parents,
Siblings, and a host of other significant people
Here’s to what were their golden growing years;
Children who were just children
When the war had already begun;
What harsh, belligerent words did men speak
Bring into action, enact the first act of aggression and war
On its own people with or without their consent
Here’s to
Here’s to the ruthless, the all-powered
But not all-knowing five-cornered power generator:
Yes, the PENTAGON of mass destruction:
Here’s to
Here’s to our young boys;
Recruited into an army of defenseless pawns
Torn from their friends, lovers and family-
Or where have they all gone-gone to tombstones
Every one- "When will they ever learn?"
Here’s to all of them, on and off the bloody front.

Part III

Here’s to
Here’s to the cancellation
Of the rites of Spring;
The flowering of the tiny seed,
Little ladies, flower white and pretty
Blossoming in size and maturity;
But just in their prime
They live only to see their soul mates
Paddywagoned off to fight their leaders’ war
Whether in the market or on the battlefield:
The rainforest once so green and moist
Here’s to
Here’s to another failed chance
To return them all their “rites of spring”
Their youth
Their free time and innocence.

Part IV

Here’s to
Here’s to the old men
Without a country
Whom you might once have met
On the street, on the boulevard,
Or just along the village green
Here’s to their passing friendship

Here’s to the pleasant, though brief furloughs
They offered us; those moments of sheer joy,
And heartfelt compassion-the trek through
The rough and tough, often where tragedy
Forms the tears they shed with us and we shed
With them-for our beloved kin, and our fellow
Travelers throughout the world.

Here’s to
Here’s to friends of old age
The hapless,
The homeless,
The workingman (poverty
And destitution their plight)-
All but precious memories left
Of perhaps better days gone by.
But here’s to
A few enlightened men
Who’ve seen and witnessed the truth
Gazed spellbound into the eye
Of that all blinding light
And know the difference
Between truth and the lies
That men still live by.

New York

Please read more poems in English in the hardcopy...

Shabdaguchha, an International Bilingual Poetry Journal, edited by Hassanal Abdullah