A BEAR'S TALE
The eldest Bear set out one day.
I think it was the first of May.
He knew how long and hard the walk,
but he could stop along and talk.
From the mountains he called his home
to the ocean blue, white with foam.
He ventured forward without fail,
and when asked, he told this tale.
“I came before and had such fears.
What I beheld brought only tears.
Darkness, destruction and death loomed.
It was so clear world was doomed.”
“I heard no birds sing overhead,
For the silent trees were all dead.
You could not breathe the air so thick.
The wildlife all lay weak and sick.”
“No fish swam in the murky stream.
Oh how I wished it was a dream!
I prayed and prayed to God above
that he would save us with his love.”
“So many years have come and gone
and I’m still here, but not alone.
The air is pure, the water clean.
The trees grow tall with leaves of green.”
“The birds sing loud, the sun is bright,
Shining stars twinkle in the night.
The raccoons, rabbits, bears and deer
Live, run and play without the fear.”
“You ask me how this came about?
Once you hear you’ll have no doubt.
You will know if you stop and think,
The humans all became extinct.”
ABOUT DIANE BRENNER
THE BENEFIT OF MATURITY
He took me to Dunkirk and showed me graves where the young men lay.
I was unmoved. I didn’t know them. I was bored and had nothing to say.
I didn’t want to be there; I wanted a deck-chair. I was fresh out of school.
I didn’t want to search; to reach in, to breach the story. I was a child fool.
I was fifteen and how little did it mean to be told of the death of millions.
I didn’t understand. I didn’t want to know and be upset about the minions
who’d followed their leaders into the whole of the gore that was war on Earth.
There was fun to be had; I was mad at the intrusion of the allusion of Death.
Death wasn’t recognizable in the rows of graves; Death didn’t touch my heart.
Death meant numbers not people; white rows of crosses not folks torn apart.
I didn’t imagine mothers or sisters or brothers in their heart-rending separation.
I saw what I was missing in my vacation. The sun and sea and my recreation!
I grew old and went to Thailand and the Philippines where the young men lay.
The graves were beautiful in a manicured way. This time too I’d nothing to say.
My tears ran; I felt so bad when a small plaque said, ‘Found you at last, Dad’.
In my fifties I felt as a daughter, a mother, a sister, a wife and I was deeply sad.
In Manila the hillside was scenic; the land of turmoil now serenely quiescent.
Attendees looked after the boys’ resting place. It was warmly pleasant.
Man is the author of war; God is the author of peace, read the words on a wall.
But my head couldn’t embrace the meaning or understand that platitude at all.
Each young life was spent in an untimely manner, though so newly fledged.
Each grave was sad in its own way, with its occupant and its story plainly edged
in grief. Each rendered life for his flag, his kinsmen and his homeland security,
but I hadn’t seen the terror or the horror of loss without the benefit of maturity.
ABOUT DOROTHY TAYLOR
ABOUT LEE ALLEN HILL
ABOUT MARGARET ROSE SNOWDON