Before valor fades or a soldier’s honorably lain;
Before shrapnel and horrors stand forward;
Before the screech of missiles, snap of breath;
Before the water chokes, the marine howls;
Before the steady drum and bugle sound;
Before the sidewalks are washed of the event;
Before shivering flesh and darkness ignite;
Before food, clothing and shelter;
Before the whispered birth of wayward night;
Before all else; were we alive?
Did we sense humanity’s plea;
Grasp this; our solemn relationship;
Fortunate to have been born at all,
To breathe where breath is free;
That the world exhales next to us,
Eats, drinks, prays, dies alongside our death…
O is there no truth that lives,
That wrestles deceit to its knees;
Living that scowls at hopeless war
Whose breath stinks beyond our living?
When spirits fade and innocence slain,
Lowered to their private defeat,
With each, a world’s breath, mislaid.
© 2007 mrp/thepoetryman