Wounded Knees

he deserved better

though no one ever said so

his lot by choices made and birth decreed

in another age he might have been a hero

living to a code that he believed

he deserved better

although he rarely argued

accepting that in life we pay a price

so he just got on with doing what he had to

a slave to circumstance

he played it nice

except for once or twice

when folks harangued him

bedevilled him to choose a different path

castigated choices, rules he lived by

then another side was seen

and no one laughed   

courageous then to ethics and behaviours

a knight of old who’d sworn to do his best

an explorer extraordinaire

a real man

tackling each and every challenge

daily tests

he deserved better

one or two of us knew that that was true

and we cheered silently on the sidelines

urging his success in what he felt he had to do

 

she deserves better

I saw her on the street just yesterday

her coat hung heavy on her shoulders

her face resigned to to all she had to pay

she might have travelled once in covered wagons

tilled at soil cemented on some plot

sewed seeds of future, harvested, lamented

a stoic that the caravan forgot

 

they deserve better

perhaps we all do

cast in roles

few choices

birth decreed

unsung heroes

terrain and times denying

that courage stands

on work-worn wounded knees

Chartered

Lift up your voice, let the clear air carry

From the Sounds and the Firths out to the seas,

Enter in the inlets, in the estuaries,

Vocal now, no supplicants’ pleas.

These are not the voices of the woaded tribes,

But the born to be, destined to be free,

Lift up your voice, let the message ride,

Polemicists, apologists we.

These are the voices of the meek grown bold,

Emboldened by the truth when it is known,

History rewritten, in the present told,

Seeds of justice long ago sown.

Vanquish defensive, the cringe once bred

By the words of the woeful, books and news,

Lift up your voices, elevate your head,

Sing songs of freedom born of battled blues.

Carry the banner of the free, unveiled,

Perish the thought of lowly born,

People of the future, never more assailed,

Abandon ashes, sackcloth ever worn.

Shrug off the fear, designating state,

Antonym to action, thus enslaved,

Write now with purpose on a wipe-cleaned slate,

Capitalised, italicised, writ brave.

Be the free citizens where’er you live,

Terminology none may revoke,

Pass on egality as the gift you give,

Charter of mankind now quote, invoke.

Fall Together

Did you fall, my friend, and fear the jeering laughter,

an awkward stumble,

without grace

clumsy,

sprawled

in disarray,

face-shamed,

inert.

Did you fall, my friend, and worry for the rising,

relinquishing

feelings

vanquished,

laid out,

cold

judgements pending,

did you fall.

 

Will you stand again,

despite the fall

and fears

and see the kindness

in spectators’ eyes,

no vicious slights,

participants,

in recognition

of our own

falls known.

 

Did you fall, my friend,

I know that spot,

for I have fallen too.

We fall. We rise. Together.

 

Life Is Brave

Living on the edge, near rivers churning,

A quake away from heartbeat shocked to still,

In sight of Etnas, fleet of foot no saviour,

Threatened on all sides but stood, by will.

A bomb away from end in messy graveyard,

Bullets hailing fast as driving snow,

Yet we live, rejoice in what’s around us,

Still we love and risk as on we go, 

Belittling fear, unworthy as oppressor,

Aged in ashes fallen all through time,

Better yet, we weather all, endeavour

Unity, resilient, we’ll be fine.

Disease away from death as on time marches,

Detritus around, we veer and wave,

Hope eternal, risen from the pyres,

Onwards, ever onwards, life is brave.

Regrets

Non, rien de rien,

Non, je ne regrette rien,

She sang.

I concur.

Life’s rocking chair test

will tease the past

in days to come.

I’ll hum the tune

and wonder why

I did not do,

embrace,

risk,

jump.

I’ll speculate on

chances lost,

a life less well-lived,

moments that fled

before me

while I weighed the pros and cons.

Glimpses of might have beens

and could have, should haves

will torment my cowardly soul.

But, for those times

when I did,

when I grasped

the horns,

let them pierce,

rode the bull,

let it throw me

high,

crazily,

wildly

to tumble hurt

on dusty ground,

audience baying

or applauding,

I’ll be glad;

regretting only

the days I waved

white flag,

not red

and bled

inside,

gored

by fear.

As One

Strength will lend a voice

Amid noise and confusion.

In weakness, valour may dare.

 

In weakness, valour may dare

Scale mountains, fly freely

While fear still crushes bones.

 

While fear still crushes bones

And innards liquefy,

Fight or flee is chosen.

 

Fight or flee is chosen

Instinctively, unconsciously.

Protection and survival the aim.

 

Protection and survival the aim

Of life – to adapt, change,

Signify and glorify the spirit within.

 

Signify and glorify the spirit within,

Rejoicing in source and unity,

Recognising, in awe, invisible threads that bind.

 

Recognising, in awe, invisible threads that bind,

Drawing one to another, connecting the edges,

Expanding, creating anew the whole.

 

Expanding, creating anew the whole,

Intricately woven and bound,

Harmonised, synchronised, complete.

A Life Well-Lived

Pope John Paul II

What more to wish

A life well-lived

A beacon in the night

A man of honour, justice, truth

A bright and guiding light.

What more to wish

A life well-lived

Courage and fortitude

A man of wisdom in God’s ways

Holy – simply good.

What more to wish

A life well-lived

An example to Mankind

Teaching, loving, suffering

God’s path in life to find.

What more to wish

A life well-lived

Honour where it’s due

He took his cross and carried it

For all – that’s me and you.

What more to wish

A life well-lived

God’s truth here to impart

To reconcile and show the way

To heal the human heart.

What more to wish

A life well-lived

To love and serve Our Lord

To lead Mankind to peace on earth

And lead us to our God.

What more to wish

A life well-lived

Has found its own reward

To rest beside his Mother

In the presence of Our Lord.

What more to wish

This life now gone

His example is not lost

His beacon shines, God’s peace to all

Mankind can count the cost.

What more to wish

If only this

His ways become ours too

Faithfulness, love and sacrifice

More we cannot do.

(5-4-05)