Thurman P. Woodfork

SHIELDS

Never allow the shields to drop;
never let old realities intrude;
never allow the memories to begin,
full of the turmoil they include.

All these years thin bulwarks held,
tremulous against insidious thoughts,
holding back darkening memories,
a tenuous peace, dearly bought.

Now and again a chink appeared
and the aching angst slipped by,
to be caught and mortared over
with a dismayed, shivering sigh.

Stifle the dreams; blank the mind,
hold firm against the ceaseless urging
of reawakened, bitter, experiences
and their corrosive, relentless surging.

Though the years have grown long,
those harrowing days remain ever near,
filled with boredom, bravery, and regret,
friendship, love, hatred, and fear.

Keep the mental ramparts high;
make forever sure they exclude
all the insistent, creeping memories
and the bleakness they exude.