INDEPENDENT NEWS

Jay Shaft Poem: The Endless Funeral Procession

Published: Wed 11 May 2005 11:18 AM
The Endless Funeral Procession
By Jay Shaft
We would not have to remember you
in past tense if not for a senseless war.
You carried a rifle
for an entire grateful nation
you carried the flag
on your shoulder
for all of us
you did your duty
not just for yourself
but an entire mourning country
as we gather to remember
your senseless passing.
It seems we all wear black
and all the time now
so often flags are folded
as collectively we bow
our heads and cry,
red and white of roses
takes on our mourning poses
we see you fall screaming
on far flung battlefield
and wonder WHY?
It seems so senseless,
the grind of battle relentless
we mourn not once but every
time another soldier dies
we gather reeling,
at your flag draped coffin
a scene repeated all too often
we see you die and feel so numb,
but the blows of senseless death
do not ever lessen or soften.
We gather to mourn in repetition
not every week, now it’s every day
pain without respite or rest
the tragic news hits us
with no buffer or delay
no time to catch our breath
or gasp again in horrified shock
our grieving becomes all encompassing
the increasing onslaught of bodies
a bright white agony of loss.
Every day another of our children
comes off the mortuary plane
in flag wrapped silence
the honor guards footsteps
echo in lockstep thunderously
as they bear the ceremonially
shrouded boxes of squared steel
we cry bitter, salty tears
till the tracks mark and stain
our faces with permanent pain.
While the sun shines brightly
on your gleaming polished coffin
we know you have forever
lost the light, and slipped so far
from living comfort, mortal graces
while we prepare to attend
another fallen son or daughter’s
solemn tribute, the bugles echo still
from the last soldier’s entombment.
The sound of the 21-gun volleys
become a never ending crescendo
the pipers mourning wailing dirge
becomes a mocking, never ceasing
blackened tarnished battle hymn
and the news received today
was nothing new, the tragedy being
more dead is not an isolated
terrible nightmare, but a new felt
daily sense of mind numbing reality.
As the reddened sun sets
on another awful day
our much used mourning clothes
are hung with great care
not to be put up
for distant time of need
but to wear again
tomorrow at the next gathering
in the endless parade
of loss and mourning.
The loss is now
a daily grim occupation
of tears and grief
without sign of any relief
no respite for the weary
no relaxation to remember
our much loved dead
just another day of marching
with eyes streaming, tears gleaming
in the endless funeral procession.
*************
About the Author
Jay Shaft is a freelance writer and the editor for the independent news group Coalition For Free Thought In Media. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CFTMGroup/ He has conducted many interviews with soldiers who have served in Iraq, in which service members exposed the issues of the military's failure to provide proper equipment and training to US troops, and he has been on the forefront of investigating the price that soldiers are paying as a result. He has also published many letters and interviews from parents speaking out against the death or injury of their children serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Contact Jay Shaft at cftm_editor@yahoo.com

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