I Saw A Ghost

I saw a ghost,
an apparition of the most brilliant clarity,
completely bared in the most brilliant transparency,
completely immersed in the most brilliant despondency,
born of the life he had lost.

I met a ghost, a recollection,
of the most tearjerking memories,
suffered in silence, in forced solemnity,
that made an affront of casual curiosity,
or an insult of my love.

We walked the halls of the dead, I and this ghost I saw,
We admired the courageous, their stiff shoulders,
The stars they wore;
On stiff shoulders and pondered the
outcome of their valiant lives,
Till we remembered we walked the halls of the dead,
and they had died.

I took the ghost by his hand, asked him to try to understand
the real significance of war in a foreign land,
the stark difference of his white, in a world of grey.
Why he should decide to die in a way
and a time and a fashion worthy of him,
of who he is now not of who he has been –

I pulled the ghost to my lap, cradled his head to my breast,
Stroked his hair while tears rolled, nose, cheek, chin to chest..
I whispered “it’s hard to know you’re unique, it’s your destiny,
not branding you weak, you must be the best you can be.”

Despite his tears the ghost raised his head
“that’s not what’s hard to accept” he said
“it’s the random acts of god instead,
and I wasn’t the artist, or the scholar who stared,
watched history happen from afar while letters were penned,
saw controversy debated, or opinions shared!

I never had that luxury, I was a soldier on a drill,
and I didn’t do it for the money, I didn’t do it for the thrill..
I did it because I’d lost too much of my soul in it already,
my heart’s an empty hole and with comrades, friends, dead
right left and center there was no going back to steady.
No stable with the fables gone and the myths decomposed –
words were just words, and all that was supposed is that when
there was deeds to be done, the call wouldn’t go long unheard –

We fight for what’s right whether it’s right or it’s wrong
till the day we’re defeated or the murder is done
with all this suffering and pain,
I’ve not strength left to sob –
when the call comes it comes,
We get on with the job.”

I saw a ghost, and sighed –
knowing I had tried and gave of
my own tears, and withered inside.

Known it was too late –
there was no more pride,
there was no more debate.

Too much I empathise –
it hurts to know I’d be crushed
if some cruel fate or luck
played it’s tragic hand,
and my ghost passed away,
in some accursed foreign land.

[end/arken] 2003