Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April 12: Ken Burns, Rigoberto Gonzalez, "The Soldier of Mictlán"

I am watching a Ken Burns' documentary about World War I right now.  It is the last part of the film, and it features stories about mustard gas and the influenza epidemic of 1918.  It's pretty gruesome subject matter.  Then again, I didn't expect the final days of the Great War to be all flowers and rainbows.

Even the so-called victors in a war don't really win a whole lot.  There's plenty of pain and death on all sides.

Saint Marty hopes his children never have to experience war in their lifetimes.

The Soldier of Mictlán

by:  Rigoberto Gonzalez

Once upon a time there was a soldier
who marched to Mictlán in his soldier
boots and every step was a soldier
step and every breath was a soldier
word. Do you know what this soldier
said? I'd like a piece of bread for my soldier
hand. I'd like a slice of cheese for my soldier
nose. And I'd like a woman for my soldier
heart. The mayor of Mictlán saluted the soldier
and bowed his head as he told the soldier:
We have no bread, oh honorable soldier,
we hold empty hands instead. Dear soldier,
let us take yours if we may. And the soldier
held out his hand to be taken. Oh brave soldier,
said the mayor, cheese is your soldier
wish, but we have none since the other soldier
left. We whiff empty hands instead. The soldier
let the mayor sniff the scent of his soldier
palm. And forgive us, oh strong soldier,
said the mayor, but no woman worthy of soldier
warmth lives in our empty town. Will your soldier
eyes teach us wonder and kindness and soldier
love instead? Silence stiffened the soldier
face as a search ensued in the soldier
head for a moment one moment of soldier
bliss. But all was dead. The longer the soldier
looked the more the streets of his soldier
mind resembled the streets that his soldier
feet had taken him to: where no lost soldier
finds bread or cheese or a woman to be a soldier
wife. This was no space for a soldier
life indeed. So off to the hills the soldier
fled to seek out the place where a soldier
sheds the rattle that beckons the soldier
to death to soldier to death to soldier.

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