Once Young, Now Old

I am during this Thanksgiving, thankful for each man and woman who served in the Vietnam War. In the following poem I wrote from the perspective of one who fought there. I am grateful for all of our service men and women who are currently serving in Afghanistan and other places away from their families. I wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.

I am looking for criticism for my war poems. I welcome all and any. I will try out suggestions though I may not in the end use them.

Once Young, Now Old

I shift my focus now, go back in time and place to when I was a younger man and innocence had a face.

A time before I knew the things that I have come to know.

Like those long hot summer days.

We swam together naked, swinging off the low oak tree.

We’d drop into the swirling water laughing joyfully.

Our lives were gentle then, the pace was slow.

We would picnic in the forest as you held your hand in mine.

We ran chasing one another while we were young.

I was soon to be a man.

We lay upon the blanket as the sunrays licked the water that ran tickling down our backs.

Then gently we rolled over making love sweetly on the grass.

When autumn came I went away to school, it was learning that I sought.

But alas, I would stray until that fateful day.

The DOD came knocking on my door, its hand graciously stretched out to me.

I would be forever changed.

I saw it as my duty, a service to this land.

They offered me the promise that they would make of me a man

After basic, I said my goodbyes as we shipped out to Nam.

The place was a hot and seething hell.

Once verdant it had seen the Orange death. I saw way too many flame and fall.

This was a place where mosquitoes were as big as tarantulas and roaches ruled the day.

It seemed that hungry, deadly snakes there, hung from every tree just to make a meal of you.

The rats so big they stared and laughed at you when you had the chance to pee.

The ARVN and the ANZAC stood with us side by side in what would be the worst of wars that men had ever seen.

Together we watched each other’s back.

We fought the devil till he fell.

But the bastard, he got up again just to get us from behind.

Their faces gone, torn, ripped off, beheaded, shortened limbs left lying on the ground.

For that motherfucker Charlie ran way ahead of us sinking his lousy mines.

Always making sure that there would be many more to carry back to camp in pieces from the blast.

Our numbers dwindling now, and reeling from the loss, we looked for mail and wondered? Would she wait for me or Dear John me in the back? Was there another guy in her life now?

A hit of reefer dulled the pain.

Would we make it back alive or arrive home in a box?

They say we are the lucky ones. I came home to stay. She was gone.

Years later now, an old man, I lie awake most nights with insomnia my friend.

Jack Daniels always by my side … but like myself empty now and parched down to the bone.

My sleeplessness a sign that still today:

I am on the lookout for those I left behind.

Know this my brothers you still live within my heart.

My tears for you the only sign that today I am alive.

Posted at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

2008-2010 © Liz Rice-Sosne

To Re-Fresh

barely spring now

like fresh magnolia buds

the heart can refresh

So now, that is what is taking place, now that my heart is refreshing, moving onwards and hopefully upwards, it is time for change in my blogging habits.  I have known for a short amount of time that this must be so.  However, I cannot take credit for the changes that you will see in my blog (that is once I master the technicalities).  I have been working on these technicalities all day and yet, they go un-mastered.  Never mind.  I wish to acknowledge and thank a fellow writer, friend and mentor to many, Jaime Dedes for the changes that I am making.  Her blog can be found here:

1) I will be turning off the comments section.  This will allow me more time to read and enjoy your work.  This will also give me more time to tighten up my own writing.

2) I will create a page where you are welcome to communicate with me.

3) I will be going by my given name: Liz Rice-Sosne (this is needless to say, my idea).

Posted at dVerse

Thanksgiving – 2012

Initially we were not going to be able to see the kids due to some silly mix-up. I am so very grateful that in the end we connected and had a wonderful meal together. My daughter discovered Lake Wasatch about 10 years ago. It is this very special 300 acre lake with I believe nine cabins on it. She took us there once and now we meet there every weekend “after” Labor Day weekend. We bring our dogs, hang out, enjoy nature and are grateful for no WiFi or 3G. It is serene and beautiful, but most of all it is really wonderful family time.

After discovering our plan for Thanksgiving wasn’t going to work, we were finally able to settle upon a new plan. We went to Lake Wasatch. We shared the responsibility of fixing dinner, bringing things both from St Louis and from Indianapolis. The kids came for Thanksgiving dinner and then trudged home later that night after a wonderful movie. We stayed for two nights. At night we made popcorn and watched movies as if we were dating again. It was fun.

The dogs go crazy with all of the smells of the woods, other people’s dogs, forest creatures and two resident Potbelly pigs that each way weigh in at about 250 pounds. I have no idea where my photos went. However, once I was back at home the photos were no longer in my camera. The lake was so beautiful during late autumn. The changing autumn light really made it a different place.

As I lost my late autumn photos I share these from September 2012. I am especially fond of the last photo taken in early morning as the fog rises off the lake. When we went in September I enjoyed seeing the young Swans.`There were 5 children. They were sort of fuzzy and brown. Today they have little of that brown left … but they are still there with Mom and Dad. Needless to say the Canadian Geese (or are they Canada Geese?) and the Swans were each quite territorial, making lots of noise.

June 17th Sunday Tree – Japanese Black Pine – Gratitude

Sometimes there are good people who touch your life in a spiritual manner.  You meet them on line.  Their goodness effects you in such a manner that they touch you spiritually.  Their combined spirit has the power to draw your spirit back, as it had been wandering about lost for a bit.
Those persons who have done this are important to me for unknowingly (or knowingly) they have assisted me in regaining my true sense of spiritual self through their own large and loving spirits.  We can always learn from others be it through their actions or writings.  This Sunday Tree is a thank you to Sherry, Jaime, Jeannie, Becca, Ravenblack, Brian and Amy.
It is dedicated to Isabel who started the idea of Sunday Trees and who I have missed … she has not been on her blog since April, I believe.

Door or Entry Ways of China

I was deeply touched by something that Ann Emerson wrote this AM at Into the Bardo.  It was just a few words of one line of her poem “Keeping Watch.”  The words are: “may our gratitude for another new day be unprecedented and contagious.” 

I have always been inspired by doors or entryways … places that people pass through.  For me a doorway is a metaphor.  Perhaps one enters as one person and comes out on the other side as a different person, even a new person.  Following are photos of entryways encountered in China.  When I look at them I think about all of those who have passed through these doors before me.  I think of the sadness or happiness the “passers through” had known.  I think of ritual.
Ritual can be a healing practice, it can be public or private, large or small.  Perhaps with each passage that I make through a doorway I can practice gratitude.  I notice of late that I do not practice enough gratitude.  I have so much to be thankful for.  I believe that this is a good idea.   
These photos were taken in Beijing, Xian, the Great Wall and The French Concession (of Shanghai) in 2006.