Charles J. Ingerson

OATHS, SHIELDS, AND ARMOR

(Prelude:

to every death
there was an oath
some from wealth
some within loath.

to every taunt
a bright shield
to protect or flaunt
innocence to yield.

to every battle
some wore armor
the skin of chattel
or the steel of war.

all thought to live
forever and not die
never to have to give
or hear themselves cry.

yet where is honor
in this scene or plain
where is the horror
in death’s stain?)

Trumpets

Clarion clear
calling one
recalling fear
a battle done.

Mounting dead
one upon one
a widows dread
a battle done.

Taps for one
victory for others
a battle done
with our brothers.

Flags

Draped coffins
lining the way
in strange winds
found this day.

Fluttering half-mast
finding no breeze
no shadow to cast
moments freeze.

Torn and to burn
on soil so strange
what did I learn
in life to change?

Flags now furled
out of all sight
winds lonely swirled
gone is their might.

Drums

Measured sound
carried within
rhythm found
wanting to win.

Fast and furious
often ever light
sometimes injurious
frightening at night.

Carrying so far
echoes rebounding
lonesome a memoir
messages confounding.

Unheard the beat
as a still heart
death life to cheat
of every war a part.

Cannons

Faraway in lines
defining the field
changing the times
no longer to yield.

The earth shakes
rumbles thunder
all hell awakes
peace asunder.

Row upon row
pounding in place
destruction to sow
villages to deface.

Deafening the sound
toy soldiers play
on old cannons found
even to this day.

(Epilogue:

oaths of death
allegiance given
one last breath
in anger driven.

shields of steel
braced to protect
pain to feel
even the elect.

armor of cloth
animal skins too
ever so soft
in death a fool.

trumpets to play
flags to wave
drum now stay
cannons to crave.

none thought to die
ever thinking to live
never to have to cry
or succor to give.

yet where is pain
in a scene of horror
where is the rain
in death’s honor?)