The Result was Silence

By Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall (Rated PG13)

“The Result was Silence”

“Today I initiated a telephone conversation with the President of the Russian Federation. The result was silence.” -President Volodymyr Zelenskiy

There is no silence in Kiev this dawn
Morning commutes, intermittent news feeds
Explosions. Power failures. How many will die
Without finishing their WORDLE today

Old men rattle their dentures in outrage
Sky News reports a couple of police officers
In the street below, smoking cigarettes
Which makes more sense than most things just now

Kharkov’s air-raid sirens are deeper than Kiev’s
There is no silence in Kiev this dawn

A Few Kind Thoughts for Roman Soldiers

If you have stood your watch throughout the night
To guard a clothesline of national importance
Dug foxholes only to fill them up again
And then patrolled through long days in the heat

If you have enjoyed Cinderella Liberty
And talking about poetry and girls
With a few mates down at the coffee shop
Because that’s all your poor pay can afford

You will then understand the conscript guards
Posted to keep order on Calvary

Afghanistan, Graveyard of 19-Year-Olds

Ghosts shriek in the wind from the Hindu Kush
Falling upon the lowlands in despair
Of any reality beyond death
In the blood-sodden sands where sinks all good

Walls, monuments, souls, hopes – all blow away
In the wreckage of long-fallen empires
Their detritus trod upon by tired men
Whose graves will be the howling dust of time

And yet the empire masters will return
And leave fresh offerings, remnants of the young:
A British Enfield, a Moghul’s lost shoe,
A cell phone silent beside the Great Khan’s skull

(First published in The Road to Magdalena, 2012)

We Have No Enemies Among the Dead
For the Young Crew of the Moskva
14 April 2022

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave…
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea -The Navy Hymn

Proud admirals and presidents rattle their medals

The young – in screams among burst steam lines die
Explosions and darkness and seawater and hatches sealed
The bulkheads blown, there is no up, no down
Only pain and horror and throat-torn shrieks

Proud admirals and presidents jing-aling their medals

Training manuals, pocketknives, and comic books
Naughty pinups, letters from Mom, wrenches, and boots
Toolboxes, ball-point pens, and coffee cups
Fall with the young deep down into the sea

Proud admirals and presidents dazzle the room with their medals

Mothers and fathers grieve in emptiness
Our Leaders caution them to mind their attitude

Proud admirals and presidents – to Hell with their medals

Crazy Old Men with Rockets ‘n’ Bombs

When you read to your brother or sister
A go-to-sleep book about bunnies and stars
You are healing a wound in Creation
Made by some malevolent old man

When you sing along with the washing machine
And help your MeeMaw up those tricky stairs
You are healing a wound in Creation
Made by some malevolent old man

When you sit on the steps late at night
And watch a pirate ship sail close by the moon
You are healing a wound in Creation
Made by some malevolent old man

When you pray for the bombed-out refugees
And put a little extra in the collection plate
You are healing a wound in Creation
Made by some malevolent old man

When you sing a song to the universe
It remains in the heavens forever


You helped heal a wound in Creation

No Bombers Over Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic School in 1958:
A Brief Discussion of a Successful Cold War Tactic

from an idea suggested by Kirk Briggs

Some have scoffed about hiding under our tables
As protection from the Soviets’ nuclear strikes
But scorn not this truth of those factual fables:
It worked! No bombers! Post that as one of our “likes!”

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