The inspiration for this poem hit last week and I started writing it then. It is the first poem I’ve written in, literally, years, and it is most definitely a product of the current turmoil coming from President Bannon’s pushing of White Nationalism on the nation.
Plain, Plaid Dress
A town, a city, a quiet suburb?
Inland, coastal, North, or South?
Whether East or West was never known.
The People had gathered, had not departed,
The thin, blue line round their cordone strained,
So “Authority’s” clenched fist was summoned.
Officers lead in shiny, black Humvees,
Before rolling tanks of desert tan,
And green APC’s of warriors full.
Up the main boulevard the steel snake wound,
Manned by grim and harsh, unfeeling men;
Neither Husband nor Father nor Brother no more.
In a plain, plaid dress she stood before them,
At the crossroads of the widest two streets,
Alone she stood in facing the force.
Though none had seen her walk to the spot,
The people cheered when they saw her there,
Even as the riot cops froze with incredulous shock.
Her hands before her were gently clasped,
As her long hair and plain, plaid dress
Danced on the gusts of the swirling breeze.
The column shuddered to a hesitant stop,
As mutterings, cursings, and uncertainty spread.
Because of a woman? In the plain, plaid dress?
Whether Soldier, Protester, Officer, or Agitator,
All stopped where they were unable to move
As a nervous quietus shrouded them all.
The moment continued. The tension lingered.
As In the turret of of an M-One-Thirteen,
A Major stood rigid, looking down at her.
She matched his gaze in intensity,
Looking up at him with guileless nerve,
Stood the woman in the plain, plaid dress.
Sweat ran down the Major’s flushed cheeks,
As he slowly trained a worn Ma Deuce,
Directly into her fearless face.
She slowly answered with Love, not Hate;
As with a slight head tilt, and a gentle smile
She opened her arms to the azure sky.
The Major’s gloved fist ratcheted the action,
Cycling a shell into the chamber,
Before resting his thumbs on the large gun’s trigger.
She did not flinch, she did not waiver,
But looked instead up to the Heavens,
And stood relaxed in her plain, plaid dress.
The Major’s jaw clenched in red rage,
As she refused to move or acknowledge him…
A dozen times the machine gun barked.
While its harsh, staccato echo still rang,
Shreds of plain, plaid fabric fluttered down,
With crimson staining their torn, ragged edges.
Her body was still, still slumped where it fell,
But a form now stood where she had before,
A pillar of light, a star brought to Earth.
Some saw wings, some a halo;
Some saw a sword, some a balance;
In that formless white light at the intersection.
The Major’s mouth moved, but no words were heard;
No one’s shout or scream or terrified wail
Was heard above the absolute din of silence.
The form exploded with a searing flash
Into a wall of light, an expanding circle
Wrapping itself around the world.
Passing through every woman, and every man,
Judging them all as they had Judged others;
Weighing their Sins as they weighed Sinners.
Everyone felt the warm touch of Grace,
As Mercy and Compassion were freely given;
But only as much as they had shared.
And when the Circle of Light had returned,
Millions lay crumpled where they had stood,
As billion more gnashed their teeth in pain.
Yet the most by far stood resolute,
Those whose lives were of kindness and charity,
Found their spirits renewed, their souls freshly cleansed.
The Mirror of Reckoning and having come and gone,
The Earth began anew with her People’s,
With love and strength replacing hatred and fears.
Except… Except life is neither Myth nor Legend,
The lone, brave woman in the plain, plaid dress,
Still laid crumpled still upon the street.
That fateful day saw no Liberty won,
No oppression stayed, no Justice done;
Her fearless stand from history expunged.
Except… Except for what We the People do,
What oppressions and injustices we accept,
When at the crossroads we too stand.
–D. Paul Angel
Creative Commons Attribution License 2017