Friday, February 26, 2010

Anna and Cheri's poetry, and Anna's suggestion that we make this a poetry week, brought to mind my poetry days. I don't think I could write a poem today if my life depended on it, but I have a file that suggests at one time I did "wax poetic" frequently.
My husband spent 15 months on a remote tour in Turkey (that means without family for you non-military types.) And long before that, before we had children, he spent three weeks on nuclear alert in England, came home for three weeks and went back again for many months, so I had a fair amount of time alone.
This is the result of one of those long, lonely periods. I can still picture the setting - it was Plattsburgh, New York, October, 1962. As I returned home from a function at the church, it was cold, getting dark, and as the wind blew leaves across the empty street in front of my car, I felt lonely, heartbreakingly lonely.

Lonely is a quiet thing:
The falling of a tear
Unnoticed down a soft pink cheek
As twilight shadows near.

It's leaves blown down an empty street
When no one's there to share
The magic of the cool night breeze . . .
When no one's there to care.

Lonely is a restless sea
Lapping on the shore,
A heart that aches with missing you,
And still I miss you more.

Lonely is a far off train
Crying in the night
That chills you as you sit alone,
Alone in the moon's pale light.

Lonely is the twilight hour
When all the world is still . . .
Waiting for one who has not come.
Perhaps he never will.

That was the height of the cold war. Many of you weren't even born yet, but every time the planes took off, we were never certain they would return. Actually, many didn't. Pilot error and mechanical malfunction took too many good men. Especially worrisome was flying long hours over the North Atlantic when, if something went wrong and the plane went down, there wasn't a lot of hope of rescue before the crew died of exposure in the icy water. A totally different world from today.
How few people were even aware their freedoms were being protected by a small number of flight crews sitting alert in concrete bunkers for seven days at a time with nuclear weapons loaded on board their planes, just waiting for the klaxon to sound and send them off to retaliate against Russian targets - and hoping it never happened. Thank heaven it never did.
What memories come flooding back with reading that poem written so long ago. Thanks, Anna, for suggesting we share. I haven't even looked at those for probably 20 years. Guess it's time to go through the file and enter them into my computer - a technology I couldn't have even imagined at the time that poem was written, and something I can't imagine trying to live without today. How far we've come.

1 comment:

Anna Buttimore said...

Wow, Lynn, what a chillingly atmosphetic poem; you were a great writer, even then. And what a different world you describe - hard to imagine now. But it's thanks to people like your husband that we can enjoy the freedom and lack of fear and oppression we have now.