Al Pike


IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry
Awarded: April 19, 2007
While sitting with my wife one April evening,
she asked of me, “What are you seeing?”
Not knowing how to answer,
I asked her what she meant.

“That look in your eyes… I see it every now and then.
They glaze over, almost as if you’d died.
You show no emotion but tears fill your eyes.
It’s worried me now for thirty-five years…
this thing that carries you away…
and fills your nights with fears.”

“Look to your right,” said I,
“you’ll see an orange colored sky.
Before you is a well-manicured lawn
with islands of flowers… like a rainbow at dawn.
I see the glow of a village afire,
flames dancing ‘round the funeral pyre.
Across the clearing we call a lawn…
I search the tree line for a glint… a flash…
a movement that’s wrong.”

“I sniff the air for a smell that’s not right…
I listen for sounds coming out of the night.
Those woodpeckers hammering on old dead trees…
is the staccato of machine guns penetrating the breeze.
That hummingbird that just buzzed by…
is a bullet that Charlie fired too high.”

“You see, what you and I see… we don’t perceive the same…
I never told you – I didn’t want you to feel the pain.
I’ve let you keep the world of beauty…
while I go surely… silently… insane.”

This poem inspired “Hedgerow” ~ ©Copyright April 21, 2007 by Faye Sizemore