Bruce Henricksen

Veterans Day, 1946

Then, as swallows laced the air
And evening drifted through the town,
I sat by Grandma on the lawn
And heard her talk of Calvary—

The thing called passion on a cross,
The rock rolled by, the empty tomb.

And Grandpa sinking in his chair,
Would gaze across the gravel road,
His eyes the gray of distant smoke,
The leaves and days about his feet—

The time he'd spent in WWI,
His years of caring for the sick.

And Polio Willy limping by,
As small and quiet as a moth,
Dissolving down the darkening path
To vanish at his mother's gate.

It was the going away of things,
Migration of the hawk and goose.

Then drops of starlight touched the sky,
And insects whispered in the grass
Of fathers lost, a war now won,
And all the love we'd left undone.

The Poem I Want to Hear

Sandy, sing me of butterflies born
In the violet hills of spring;
A poem of boys in summer sun
Walking a path they have worn.

Tell me of horses beyond the fence,
Of clouds that graze the sky.
Sing me the flight of Canada geese,
Or the rattle of trucks rolling by.

Sandy, say horses still nod their heads
When morning lifts its eye.
Say they're as lovely as ghosts in the mist.
I don't give a damn if you lie.

I don't want to know which boy went to war,
Which mother had to die.
I don't want to hear the victim's cry
Or the howl of a drunk at the door.

Sing me, my Sandy, of amber grain,
Of purple hills in rain.
Sing of rivers like silk through the land.
Weave me a lie in the air with your hand.