Poem by Anne Whitehouse

 

After Fifty Years,
An American Soldier Returns to My Lai

When we came to Vietnam,
we were young and naive.
Once here, we realized
we’d been fed a lie,
and it became a part of us.

I looked into the eyes
of the enemy and saw myself.
To kill him would be suicide,
to love him salvation.

Some horrors cannot be expiated.
To the spirits of the innocent dead—
the grandmother with the child
in her lap, the baby at its mother’s breast—
I offer the music of my violin
while incense burns on the family altars
of their descendants.

Seeing this country at peace,
I feel a peace long-denied,
watching children at play,
with no burden of war.

 

Anne Whitehouse is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Meteor Shower (Dos Madres Press, 2016). She has also written a novel, Fall Love, which is now available in Spanish translation as Amigos y amantes by Compton Press. Recent honors include 2018 Prize Americana for Prose, 2017 Adelaide Literary Award in Fiction, 2016 Songs of Eretz Poetry Prize, 2016 Common Good Books’ Poems of Gratitude Contest, 2016 RhymeOn! Poetry Prize, 2016 F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Poetry Prize. She lives in New York City.

Judson Evans is a full-time Instructor in the Liberal Arts department at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where he has taught a range of courses, from a Poetry Workshop on haiku, prose poetry and haibun, to a course on theories of cave art and the role of the cave in ritual and philosophy. In 2007 he was chosen by John Yau as an Emerging Poet for The Academy of American Poets. He was one of the founding members of Off the Park Press, and published work in each of its three anthologies responding to provocative contemporary painters. His most recent work has been published in (print journals) Laurel Review, Folio, Volt; 1913: a journal of forms; and Green Mountains Review, and (online journals) White Whale Review and Amethyst Arsenic. He won The Phillip Booth Poetry Award from Salt Hill Review in 2013. He has collaborated with composers, such Mohammed Fairouz, Mart Epstein, and Rudolf Rojhan, who set several of his poems to music, as well as with choreographers, dancers, musicians and other poets, including Gale Batchelder, and videographers Nate Tucker and Ray Klimek.

 

Advertisements
Liked it? Take a second to support Oddball Magazine on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.