You are spoken of often, America.
Your name comes up
Around wine and the smell of cigars,
Around attempts at greatness and
The awarding of Silver Stars.
You are carried tall in sunlight.
Small children pledge themselves to you.
I've seen you many times, America.
In forest and across green fields.
You gleam in our grandmothers’ eyes.
You speed the locomotives.
You drip from the veins of your people.
Soldiers hold you wearing white gloves.
Bad things are done, sometimes,
In your name, America.
People wearing your face
Have done grievous things.
But we know,
You were never with them,
You were busy elsewhere,
Creating something good.
You are huge.
We all enjoy your freedom.
We need your love, America.
It completes us.
Without you, we are cynical and bitter.
With you, we are happy and
In our glee, we want to raise you even higher,
Or, die trying.
You are the breath of your people.
You are the newborn child.
The carpenter swings and
You come down.
The firefighter breaks down the door and
You step in.
It is your light that shines
From the debutante’s eyes.
Rockets bark fire
Taking men to the moon and
It is your flag that is planted.
Rockets bark fire in wars and
Your flag yet waves.
Your nights are filled with starry skies.
Your days are filled with the sun’s good light.
You know who is truly yours.
The people who do the right thing.
The ones so proud of you..
As it were,
When people opted for
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,
As it were,
We were born in your fold and
We are so grateful.
We do not pray for war.
When negotiations fail
Your beloved soldiers
Reach into the jaws of hell and
Pull you out.
Your soldiers do and
Too many die.
Your dead beloved now lay in sacred graves.
Their spent coils no longer rise.
But their spirits live on.
They likely defend you over there,
Still light humored,
On the other side.
More soldiers died today beyond sandy shores.
They’re still teaching us how it is done.
They die our brave heroes, America
By breaking their boots in the field and
Shattering their helmets
On the heads of your enemies..
No heart need be bitter, nor afraid.
If not fooled by circumstance,
We see that it is really you,
America, in uniform,
That takes the wound and falls, every time,
Over and over, again.
A tremor runs through your people
At the sight of your soldiers in martial form.
Not out of fear.
Its just your flag,
Strong hands, sharp swords,
White gloves, the tip of the spear and
All that honor there.
Dekalb County, GA
© Stan Armistead