Sword, Sorrow, Simplicity

Beltane and the Island Moon

Free writing for my Hebrew alphabet class

1969. A crowd. Mostly young. “We’re not gonna study war no more.”

Swords planted deep in the bodies of Vietnamese guerrillas. The Cong.

Swords planted lev deep in the young Americans who fought there.

Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.Flag draped coffins unloading from the cargo planes in Delaware.

Sorrow. A deep Sorrow. Back to the land, away from the fighting against the fighting. Simplicity. Not so much. The Peaceable Kingdom. Not so much.

2021. Hickam Air Force Base. Joseph, Major Joseph. Manning the Philippines desk. A China barrier. My son, Major Joseph.

Sorrow. Kate dead a month ago. Sorrow. Alone without my partner.

My son. A sword himself. Command and Control. Bombs. Troop support.

No longer simple. Just. Not. Simple. He loves this country. Wants to defend it.

He is a warrior. A sword for each of us who claim America as home.

I bless him. Anoint him with oil. Explain to him the sorrow of war.

He knows already. Better than I do. His friends have died. He has killed.

Just. Not. Simple.

He wraps his arms around me, “I love you, Dad.” No sorrow. No simplicity.

Just love and family and death and grieving.


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