On Returning to Iraq

in_flanders_fields

Impossible to overstate how distressed I am about US forces returning to Iraq . Once again a US president – this one, unlike the last, vaunted for intelligence – has made the same inane remark that “the dead must not have died in vain.”  Vanity being the operative word here – on everyone’s part.

I wrote the following the last time we ran this loop – still applies:

 These Are the Flowers Sprung from Blood

These are the flowers sprung from blood,

anemone, violet, poppy, aster

blood of Adonis, Attis, Aegeus

blood of mothers, lovers, fathers,

daughters, sons, a thousand

legions of unknown warrior dead

buried in the fields of Mars.

 

          I. Anemone speaks:

 

Windflower they call me

wind to which I open

anemonewind that hastens my demise

wind fickle as the love of Aphrodite

who kept Adonis by her side too long

incurring Ares wrath, who slew him.

It’s said the goddess sprinkled nectar

into his bleeding wounds‑ commingled

drops, falling to earth, engendered me.

 

          2. Violet cries out:

 

Love-lies-bleeding, Kit-run-in-the-fields

Love Idyll – two hundred names

from which to choose. Who could guess

Our Lady’s Modesty hid so many secrets? Dog-Violet-Common-1A

Attis died to make me, emasculated

beneath a pine tree by his own hand

for love of Cybele. For centuries

her rites continued, year by thirsty year

demanding male sacrifice upon the Day of Blood.

 

         

           3. Aster tells her story:

She changed me out of pity.

goldenrod-insects-img_3582Old Root Woman, sheltering us, foresaw

capture, rape, dismemberment and death,

sprinkled magic pollen on my sister’s face.

I watched it change beneath the moon

blossom into yellow golden rod.

When she came to me

I opened mouth and eyes

welcoming the dust.

 

We are the flowers sprung from blood

born from myth and metaphor

alive in Flanders Fields and on the Plain of Jars,

look for us in Normandy, Shiloh, Khe Sanh,

on San Juan Ridge and Pork Chop Hill.

Search between the burned out cars

in vacant rubbled lots. You’ll find us in Fallujah.

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