Two Martyrs, One Son (1987: AGE 16)

Two Martyrs, One Son
January 23, 1987

The Cardinal
his voice echoed across the land
in the ears of seven million people.
They all turned to their neighbor
–Did you hear the Cardinal?
He sang yesterday. You know I heard
him sing: ‘I have a dream today!
Let freedom ring then we might sing
free at last, thank God almighty,
we are free at last!’
Then I heard him cry
‘Oh God, oh Lord.’–
Seven million people cried yesterday.

The Bluebird
his voice echoed across the land
in the ears of seven million people.
They all turned to their neighbor:
–Did you hear the Bluebird?
He sang yesterday. You know I heard
him sing: ‘I had a dream today.
Rise above the evil in your hearts!
We can soar with the glory of love,
if we let our soul power shine!’
And then I heard him say:
‘Oh God, oh Lord!’–
Seven million people cried yesterday.

The Dove
His voice resonates across all lands
in the hearts of seven billion people.
They all turn to their neighbor
–Listen to the Dove!
He sings! Hear His voice:
‘I have a dream for you, children-
love your neighbor as yourself,
love your enemy as you love your God
for we are one, united.’
With all our hearts, listen!–
‘Father into your hands… I am yours.’
Seven billion people hold hands today.

The last in a series of poems I wrote after watching the movie Gandhi, this one most clearly reflects how I connected the teachings of Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. My interest in nonviolent action was born in these poems as well as a life long conflict with the role of violence in human action. While my life has been given in service to my country, these voices of faith, hope, and love remain loud in my head. When I wrote this poem, I knew the voice inside me that I needed to hear; as I shared it with friends, I knew that voice had a place in the world.

See also, The Kingdom:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/08/30/the-kingdom-1987-age-17/
Mahatma:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/09/05/mahatma-1987-age-16/
and A Man:

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

A Man (1987: Age 16)

January 24, 1987

You are a man
You claim no more
The praise, the crowd
Make no larger a man
I wish to be
In the hearts of a nation
In the hearts of a race
In the hearts of a faith
You are a savior
A man could be no more

You have one heart
You share it with all
All for love, no more-
Is there any more?
I wish to be
Will you help me?
I am a boy
That is all
I may ever be.

Another in a series of poems I wrote after watching the movie Gandhi, this on reflects how I was beginning to draw connections between the teachings of Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. My interest in nonviolent action was born in these poems as well as a life long conflict of the role of violence in human action. While my life has been given in service to my country, these voices of faith, hope, and love remain loud in my head.

See also, The Kingdom:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/08/30/the-kingdom-1987-age-17/
and, Mahatma:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/09/05/mahatma-1987-age-16/

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

The Kingdom (1987: Age 17)

January 24, 1987

We will march to the steps,
We will march to the sea,
We will march together
Until we find our home.
We will break the codes,
We will make salt,
We will make wine
Until we reach our home

Are we near?
Are we distant?
I need water,
I want to go home.
Will you take me?
Will you guide me?
It must be near,
I need to go home.

You say,
As we march and create:
“Raise your hands
And hold one another’s
When you do so
You will have found home.”
It must be near,
We need to find our home.

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

You’ll Never Be Alone (for Bobby)

Son
Today with oil, water and breath
I watched the priest
Open the soul of a boy
To God.

As
Mine
Was
A long time ago
And many sins past.

Now, let’s watch the gulls
Take flight from the bay
And ask them
What water tastes like in the rain
And ask them
What air feels like in the wind.

But until:
Your mother’s arms will hold you.
Strong arms.
They’ll support you wherever you fly.

I’ll be here watching the gulls
Listening to the sea’s song
Singing along with words made up
From scattered broken shells
And worn out stones
Awaiting you.

I will drip the oil
I will share my water
I will breathe for you
Until you fly back
Into my arms

And open
Up
My soul
Once again.
Son.

My reading:

Last year I ran a series of poems in response to songs by my favorite band, The National, never finishing their back-catalog. To rectify this situation, I turn to their under-rated self-titled album and perhaps their most beautiful song: “Son”. My response is dedicated to my oldest child and is titled after the line, “You’ll never be alone”.

Please enjoy.

The song:

The lyrics

Son
Songwriters: Aaron Dessner / Bryan Devendorf / Matthew Berninger / Scott Devendorf

And if you follow me, son
The wind’ll wrap around you
Carry you from the ground
You will never be alone

Your weight will turn to sunlight
That’s falling on a girl
You’re still inside the world

She’s reading books from empty women
They’re giving beauty tips from empty hips

[Chorus]
And how is the water of the rain
And how is the air of the wind
And how are the arms of your mother
She’s holding you in

Watch them as they try to fly their kites inside their bedrooms
That were only built for drinking
Your thoughts, they never lasted long when you were under the sky
Above it you can hold a thought forever

[Chorus] x2
She’s holding you in
She’s holding you in

Son lyrics © BMG Rights Management US, LLC