Would like to hear your thoughts.





An Evening at Ford Theater

He settles in the rocker, thinking,
‘I wish they’d all sit down
and think about the coming play,
enjoy the spectacle to come
and not look up here for the show.’

He regrets his rude thoughts,
stretches long legs as he wonders,
‘What would result
were I to leap
and catch a curtain,
mount the stage
and chatter
a soliloquy,
monkey-wise?’

A slight smile as he thinks,
not unhappily, ‘I’d
be placed in Congress,
among my fellow-apes,
and comfortable at last.’
A feminine elbow
brings him back
to his reality.

‘So I await the curtain,
hoping scenes to come
replace the horrid sights
I see asleep.
Let the play be loud
And witty, charming,
boisterous, anything but coarse
and vulgar, imitating war.

‘I need the spoken word
to cover what I hear
inside my head,
another drama playing on,
a tragedy that some
feel bears my name,
with many actors,
new, unknown
and anxious in their roles,
none more than me.

‘The cast, Americans,
have learned their lines
but dread the sudden exits
unexplained, their words
unsaid, their cues unheard,
no author praising
their performances,
improvised and brilliant.

‘The theaters they play in
move from place
to place, Antietam Creek
to Gettysburg, from hill
to hill and field
to bloody field,
characters left onstage
to speak their lines
with mute and swollen lips.

‘The dead souls speak
to me, beseeching words
from many men,
so many sons
and brothers,
loving husbands, doting
fathers…farmers, merchants,
blacksmiths, poets…we need
the poets now,
their words to balm
our people’s pain,

kind words to cool
a mother’s fevered cheek,
to calm a father’s
angered heart, a verse
to feed our Nation’s
starving and divided
soul. We need the
poet’s thoughtful heart
and peaceful tone.’

The lights are dimmed
and voices hush,
‘At last,’ he thinks,
his eyes upon
the stage.

Curtain