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Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com
https://hellopoetry.com/lawrence-hall/
poeticdrivel.blogspot.com

                                  Books are Secret Places

Books are secret places where words go to hide
When the world goes wrong, and children are hurt
By grownups who never learned how to read or love
Or even tell funny stories around the campfire

Books are secret places where stories go to hide
When there’s shooting and looting, and children are hurt
By grownups who never think of anything beyond
What their clever leaders tell them to do

Books are secret places where poems go to hide
When museums are looted, and children are hurt
By grownups who can see only ideologies
And never the good, the true, the beautiful

Books are sacred vessels: read them, love them -
They hold our civilization in trust
A poem is itself.
Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com
https://hellopoetry.com/lawrence-hall/
poeticdrivel.blogspot.com

                                    I­ndochine - An Anniversary of Sorts

On the 26th of October 1970 I returned from 18th months in Viet-Nam and a brief side-trip into Cambodia. I was literally just a boy off the farm when I went, and was still quite young when I wrote the following artless lines, with their conventional allusions, forced rhymes, and usage errors, on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th anniversaries. Perhaps there is one from the 1st anniversary, but I can’t find it. Well, we are all are looking for something most days: a poem, truth, meaning, or some other trifle.


…the war – the frights…the smell of h.e., the horribly smashed men still moving like half-crushed beetles, the…corpses…all this shows rarely and faintly in memory…and often seems to have happened to someone else.

        -C. S. Lewis, “Guns and Good Company,” Surprised by Joy


                                        26 October 1972

The pecans are falling now
Onto the court-house lawn
Geese fly overhead, southbound
Misty dusk and chilly dawn

Two year from Viet-Nam
Two eternities from the Vam Co Tay
Elections now, and speeches
And I guess I’ll have my say

But the finality briefly denied me
Found many another man
And they’re not here for elections
And Autumn on the land

                                            26 October 1973

I sit and smoke my pipe and think
Of things that I have seen
Easter seals and steering wheels
And jungle hot and green

I sit and smoke my pipe and ponder
The imponderable of God and man
The evening star over a flare-lit war
And souls as grains of sand

I sit and smoke my pipe and mourn
For the murdered

Many miles, and three years today
From the muddy, ****** waters
Of the Vam Co Tay

                                         26 October 1974

Many miles
And four years today
From the muddy, ****** waters
Of the Vam Co Tay

All the death-hurt eases
And dreams are quieter now
But the hurting never ceases
And I can’t see when it will, or how

Four Octobers
Four Autumns today
From rain drizzling on the slimy banks
Of the Van Co Tay

“Go and make the world safe for democracy –
Like we did in 1917,” my aged ancestor said
Dear old man, he never lived to know
That sort of thing is dead

Grim memories
Of flare-lit nights and steaming days
Of men dying screaming
On the Vam Co Tay

The finality briefly denied me
Found many another man
And they’re not seeing the wild geese flying
Or Autumn on the land

Many miles
And four years today
From the muddy, ****** waters
Of the Vam Co Tay
A poem is itself; memories are doubtful.
Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com
https://hellopoetry.com/lawrence-hall/
poeticdrivel.blogspot.com

                            Children on an October Evening

We lay in the grass and counted the stars:

There must be a hundred of them
A million
A billion
A gazillion!

Nuh-uh, there’s no such number as a gazillion
Yeah-huh, I betcha there is – but I can’t count that high
You don’t have to
Maybe the stars can count themselves

Are there spacemen out there beyond the moon?
Are maybe over there beyond the trees
It’s okay; I’ve got my Roy Rogers cap pistol
Dale Evans can shoot as good as Roy!

Can not
Can too
Can’t
Can

My daddy says we’re getting a tv
We can watch the stars on tv
I betcha this is better
You’re just mad ‘cause you don’t have a tv

Do you see the man in the moon?
I think it’s a girl
A girl in the moon! Don’t be silly!
Well, what do you see, then?

The moon is so big and round
But sometimes it isn’t
But it is right now. It likes us
And there’s Peter Pan’s second star to the right

I don’t want to grow up
We have to
Why?
I don’t know. It’s a rule

Will there be pirates and Peter Pan?
And pancakes on Saturday morning?
I don’t think so
That’s not fair
A poem is itself.
Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com
https://hellopoetry.com/lawrence-hall/
poeticdrivel.blogspot.com

                                   The Epistemology of Lies


                               Above all, don’t lie to yourself.

                  -Father Zossima in The Brothers Karamazov


The problem is not in detecting a lie
But in detecting that which is not a lie
In a fallen world in which snakes twist and writhe
Around the golden apples of our youth

Through our garden they slither, shiny and smooth
And at first softly, susurrantly, soothingly
Assuring us that that we don’t know what we know
That we should trust them, follow them, obey them

And if we pause to think, they bully us all -
And one by one the golden apples fall
A poem is itself.
Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com
https://hellopoetry.com/lawrence-hall/
poeticdrivel.blogspot.com

                                    What the Lawns Know

Creatures –
                    They crawl, lope, run, slither, and walk
Across the lawns on errands of their own
Looking for love, or looking to **** and eat

And I –
                     I tread, creak, ride, shuffle, and walk
Across the lawns on errands of my own
With lawnmower and power tools and carts

And we –

                   Someday
The lawns will cover all of us
A poem is itself.
Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com
https://hellopoetry.com/lawrence-hall/
poeticdrivel.blogspot.com


                         "Two Political Campaign Signs Set on Fire"

                                                        -news item

Perhaps that’s all the fire they’ve got this year
Obediently yapping into the dark
In camouflage knee-pants and plastic shoes
Both sides agreeing only in their hate

If they were to exchange their campaign tees
No one could tell them apart, not even themselves
Demanding that each other be locked up
With locks long since rusted, keys long since lost

Cheap disposable lighters fueled with cheap beer -
Perhaps that’s all the fire they’ve got this year
A poem is itself. A political submissive is not himself.
Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com
https://hellopoetry.com/lawrence-hall/
poeticdrivel.blogspot.com

                            Some People Are Not in Prison

“What are we here for? We are not alive though we are living
and we are not in our graves though we are dead.”

                  ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The House of the Dead

The difference between people in prison
And people who are not in prison
Is that some people are in prison
And some people are not
A poem is itself.
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