online: 30 august 2005
modified: 29, 30 august 2005

17 august 2005
ode to the moon

on a seat by the deer enclosure

within sight of a monument
that someone has renamed

a tall female figure
in bronze
with bare arms
holding two small wreaths above her head
she stands on a stone pillar
erected in memory
of some of the casualties
of World War 1
two of whom stand near ground level
wearing military uniforms
and holding the muzzles of their rifles
with the butts on the ground
at each side of this monument
to some of the millions
who were killed or wounded here in Belgium
by the first weapons of mass destruction
barbed wire and machine guns
howitzers and trench mortars
land mines and poison gas

but what stays in my memory
of this saddest of memorials
is the tall woman with two wreaths
and the recent graffiti
that renames this monument
as 'ode to the moon'

the captive deer who know nothing
of that war or of any
but who surely know moonlight
gather next to the double fencing
where some adults and children
are throwing them food

other orders of magnitude:

invisible but not inaudible
at the next order of magnitude
is the sound of traffic from the motorway
that pervades a large part of this landscape
the never-ceasing sound
of people exercising geographic freedom
and the sharing of power

as i sit now at the bus stop
i see the moon rising
just above the monument
seeming large above the trees
and as i write these lines of words
the moon moved one diameter
and is now hidden by foliage

and as i continue writing at the bus stop
four long distance coaches arrive
and in each doors open automatically
to let out a few passengers
while the driver remains seated
and the people extract luggage from compartments
below the deck of each coach
and as soon as this is done
the doors close automatically
by the remote control of the driver
and the coach moves away

as if it hadn't been here

but the monument remains
as does its new name
and these moments described

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