Eye On Life Magazine

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Eye on Life Magazine is a Lifestyle and Literary Magazine.  Enjoy articles on gardening, kitchen cooking, poetry, vintage decor, and more.

He Waited for the Carriage and Took Aim

The ship has run aground
and the ghosts
are getting off,
looking for home
and the peel of the welcoming bell.
Hollows and trails
are left in the black sand
by immigrant mothers,
moon-faced children and
men who would work for little,
and be remembered for nothing
until they fought
in the Great War.

           It’s quiet on the front
           but for the echoes
           of Princip’s gunshot.

           It’s chaos on the front
           except for the bodies
           of the dead.

So we used the broad shoulders
of the survivors
to build the Great Society;
a chance for everyone,
a place for everything,     
an answer to every question,
a woman for every man,
a father for every child,
a god for every faith,
until we asked
the sons of the settlers,
the next pioneers,
the young men,
to fight for it all again.

           Where do we start
           when there are so many
           who want it all?

           Flip a coin. Do you want
           to die in the jungle, the snow,
           or on a road into hell?

They came home
strong, proud, and in command.
They came home
on the same ships and planes
that brought home the dead,
came back with the same dreams
they had stored away
when they left,
and with our thanks fading
in the distance
like the voices of their friends,
they started a new life.
But at night
shades crept out of the darkness
stealing their breath and their sleep.
At night, the bedroom
became the jungle,
neighbors became faceless devils
with guns pointed at their heart,
and the world hadn’t changed
despite the sacrifice.

           South seas countries
           we knew nothing about
           at war with each other.

           Why should we care?
           Why should we go?
           Why should we die?

The ghosts are going home,
tired of waiting
for us to wake up.
Their grandsons
and great granddaughters
keep up the fighting,
in caves and in deserts,
in speeches and in classrooms,
in elections and
at gravesides.
Gunshots fired
almost a century ago
have led us to countries
choosing up sides
for a playground game
that doesn’t end with Mom
calling us home for supper.
Gunshots meant to secure
one country’s freedom
have left us all shackled
to a sinking ship
and the ghosts
of the past
are tired of being ignored.

-- Christopher Hivner