Whether Disliking or Loving

Paul watched the sun pass overhead
through golden aspen leaves
to soften the light that enters his eyes.

He desired freedom from the bible
and its followers, so he might write
his own scriptures.

Paul grounded himself in children’s verse.
Alan Alexander Milne.
From which he composed a life manifesto.

He claimed to have no answers.
He broadcast Mozart for the sparrows.
Vivaldi for the sparrow hawks.

Paul flooded the neighborhood
with the feeling of being alone
so community might form with urgency.

He thought it might help the brave
mend their brokenness
and the fearful to dance in the mad streets.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Hours After Sumter

The great wrong, our original sin,
the wound that discolors our freedom claimed—

we will pay now with the stony gaze
of men who blankly stare at the sky above

all to wield the axe that slices the fetters,
the bonds and shackles that hold a million men

unable to collect the reward for their long labor
in fields far from their continent without cold.

Alas, the dead we will tally, with numbers
far greater than those spouted by the glory seekers.

And how our hearts will tremble
when some once quiet town’s name is uttered,

where the trenches dug demand long rows of supine men
whose names remain unmarked on any wood or stone.

Oh, how I fear the widows’ tears; how they may flood
the land now hardened with patriotic fervor.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney