I had a hard time picking a poem for this month. I haven’t been doing a lot of creative writing lately and nearly ran out of original poetry. Then I remembered some of my favorite poems from my undergrad writing class.
This one in particular is loosely inspired by some of my childhood memories of Washington, aka the evergreen state. I spent seven years of my life there, a pretty long time for a military brat. Of course, when I say loosely inspired, I mean loose. My dad did deploy to Afghanistan, but the rest of the family and I were living in North Carolina at the time. After a year, my dad came home.
Here’s to the soldiers deployed this Christmas season. Here’s to the spouses and children waiting for their return. Here’s to the families living overseas.
You are not alone.
In green they mock fall’s bright red-orange décor
to show off leaves where small squirrels abide
with naught but cones for life on forest floor.
My friends and I, we’d build small forts to hide
pretending tales were life with every stride.
Like sweets, the sap did cling to child’s small hands
and time blew through the trees with open fronds.
The evergreens wore their cold cloak of snow
among the dead bushes from which we picked
berries until he left. Would that I knew
safety was guaranteed, but stars were pricked
by tall toothpicks. For pines, the world’s not strict.
For one long year where trees upward did press,
I stood beneath the boughs now fatherless.
Then pines sang songs of lights and frailty—
One snap. One ax for Christmas time all ‘round.
Soft smell, strong hearts for God and our country,
like stumps uprooted from their ground,
he left a hole. Still there, old wound,
the pines, they stand in mist shrouded from sight,
empty patches sinking into the night.
Don’t forget to vote on your favorite poems on Word Storm from 2018.
Let’s chat! What are your thoughts on the poem? Any fellow military brats out there? What’s the longest you’ve lived in one place?