Nancy L. Meek

REFLECTIONS IN GRANITE

Surrounded by trees, the Wall arose from the ground,
Its purpose still not fully known by the viewers there.
Those at the front were idly chatting, merely visitors
To a memorial born from the Vietnam affair.

Slowly they walked on in the shoes of the tourist
Remarked in casual tones on the weather… the trees,
Where they ate lunch, where they wish they had,
The length of the line under a sun with no breeze.

Reflections in granite awaited their curious stares.
What was so great, that demanded their attention,
To cause them to pause from their walk in the park
Just some names on a wall, prompting contention.

Stepping from the line, a woman broke the chatter,
Crossing the distance to approach the quiet stone.
She stood for a moment in silence, staring.
The tourists behind her disappearing, she was alone.

Reaching to the wall, trembling fingers traced a name,
A substitute for the loved one she could never touch again.
The sunny world in which she stood held her hostage
From the world beyond the wall, the quiet dark within.

She hugged her body, rocking back and forth in sobs
As the front of the line grew quieter still, in respect.
Spotting a name, another stepped from the line
And walked the walk of others who came to reflect.

Somber and sober, Veterans stepped up one by one
Sharing a purpose… to pay a tribute denied to them,
To comfort a brother in grief, to ease the guilt of survival
In a foreign war they were not allowed to win.

Surrounded by grief, the line grew shorter still.
Seeing the name of the boy who lived next door,
A teacher they knew, the nurse from the front-row pew.
They each, remembering, searched for more.

Reflecting in granite, on the past and the present,
They mourned for a future which will never come,
Asking the whys, coming to their own conclusions,
Beginning the healing of a nation from the battle’s sum.

Their names stood out, forever in light against the dark.
United in purpose, more than a wall full of names,
A passage to healing for those who suffer the price…
The sacrifice, in the arena of human games.