Colin F. Jones

WHAT WERE YOU THEN?

That which is kept, no other one begets,
Once given it invents itself again,
Sadness a self passion, remembering regrets,
For all it ever brings us is more pain.
But pain though sadness can with hope employ,
A desperate sort of clinging to the past,
That can restore the passion we might call joy,
But it cannot without some fantasy long last.

By giving of ourselves what must we lack,
What is it that we’ve really given away,
We have offered it forever; we can’t take it back,
Yet that which should be absent we delay,
Like a spinning wheel leaving its hot print,
Where its eagerness leaves behind its tread,
A spent coin retains its value adding gain to the mint,
Though the spender may be lying buried dead.

Thus elation gained from memory of a sad event,
Can transpire ere the brief regret retires,
Into a flame that seems so Godly sent,
That it but adds more warmth to our cold fires.
For there is a place quite hollow, formed by loss
That weeps like a leaking vain losing blood;
Where we erect the symbol of the cross
To reap from cruelty that which might be good.

Thus I would build a monument to you,
For all to see though none might know your heart,
A monument for passers-by to view,
With sympathy but not to love impart.
What were you then, to those you did not know,
A warrior who died in some past and fatal war,
The embers of a final lifelong glow
That fizzled out on an alien shore.