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Friday, April 22, 2016

Self - A Birthday Earth-Day Poem

It was cold when I was born, I am guessing
Though I do not remember, I am sure I was cold
Coming from the womb, pink and shivering
Ten pounds-eleven ounces of me, my mother’s sixth
And most difficult; all shoulders she said, and a big round head

I do not remember that sudden sharp breath

It was Earth Day, that Tuesday in April 
For some years before 1969, we called it Arbor Day
We honored trees on the 22nd day, of the 4th month
What tangible thing do we honor now
Earth-soil? Earth-planet? Earth-Mother

Taurus, the primal-bull

Roman soldiers worshipped Mithra as a god of light
Mithra who slew the sacred-bull, and laid the table
A feast for human-kind, I was born in a soldier’s place
West Point, I do not remember being there, but the name
Resounds with power, and victories no Roman could imagine

            The hallowed halls of War, the grim specter

Spring is the season of hope, and life, of expectation
Plowing, sewing, planting and the greening of the fields
April is a month of showers, of rain, and ritual-remembering
I was born eighty-nine days before Neil Armstrong flew
Rocketed to another world, and walked on the moon

What hopes drove our ships there?
What prayers drive soldiers to the stars?
I do not remember the moon landing, almost
Though I have seen, and heard it countless times;
“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”
Watching men leap on the moon’s bright face

The celestial table for all too share,

Laid down in the year I was born

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