July 4 Redux


In a world that is perhaps no scarier than it has ever been, the dimension of almost instantaneous communication makes the fright more palpable now, however, as homicide/suicide bombers with no respect for life, even their own, work their will throughout the world, whether in small settings such as restaurants or buses or in large settings such as the Twin Towers of 9/11. When the madness of despots such as Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong Il is added to the mix, denoting as it does the apparent disregard for the sanctity of life on a huge scale that eventuates in the murder of millions, whether by starvation or through outright slaying, the fright deepens and is accentuated by the lives that must be sacrificed in order to bring down these killers, reminiscent of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, and Idi Amin. The Coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq are now paying that price in the sacrifices demanded of their military.

Wondering about what will happen next as they go about their business, such as in boarding planes or merely being in large crowds anywhere, citizens are confronted anew with the specter of death, unless, of course, they are not thinking. This doesn't mean they are obsessed with the subject, only that it must surely enter their minds frequently, perhaps as they view the Evening News on TV, or listen to their radios, portrayal of the grimmest of bloody scenes of mayhem entering their living-rooms on a daily basis via instant communications. The TV-recording of the second plane plowing into the second WTC building even as the first building was portrayed in flames resulting from the first hit sears the consciousness.

The upshot is that only the unthinking are unaffected by the obvious fragility of life. Those who are mindful of the dangers, shown now more vividly than ever, must wonder about the final outcomes. There is the element of despair, but there is also the element of hope. The ending of time for one's earthly sojourn can perhaps be addressed within the context of the sunset.

SUNSET

And where, sunset, will you point me
Pre-ending of the day,
Your radiant beams a sky-bound sea
Of orange hues on display,
Your shafts of light entrancingly
To beckon weary eyes
To where the night seems not to be,
With nothing but clear skies?

And where, sunset, will you point me
As light rays fade apace
And orange hues deepen skyward sea,
With beauty fill that space,
Your shafts of light still hauntingly
Seducing searching eyes
To where the night yet may not be,
Where dawn would be surprise?

And where, sunset, will you point me
As light rays fade away
And orange hues darken sky-borne sea,
Portend the end of day,
Your shafts of light, now dimming, be
Precursor of the hour
When darkness marks both sky and sea
For weary eyes to scour?

But then of course is the fact that the sunset may not be the actual end of earthly day…no, not at all. Americans, in their freedom, have looked forward each evening and each midnight to the new day in which there is hope, something not available to millions throughout the world.

Morning Sun

And where, morning sun, will you point me,
If indeed you point at all?
Could it be your glow is meant to be
Just a gorgeous fiery ball
That is merely for my raptured view,
Nothing more or nothing less,
Simply nothing to my life imbue –
Just a bit of nothingness?

But my every fiber seems to spurn
Any thought that you just glow
With no sky-borne lesson I should learn
And no inspiration show.
For your shafts of orange announcing day,
Shooting from horizon's rim,
Surely pledge that I will find my way
As the orange departs from dim.

And where, morning sun, will you point me?
I believe you speak to all,
That your glow is simply meant to be
More than gorgeous fiery ball,
That your light is meant for more than view
As the dark grows less and less –
An enlightened word to me imbue
God's decree…no nothingness.

Finally, for those who are people of faith in God – God of the Holy Scriptures, not some pagan entity that demands death to the “infidel” and promises some sort of paradise to those who kill themselves in killing innocents – there are the promises of those scriptures, the penultimate among them being the one established in the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

PEACE

Orange-tinted threadings through the clouds
- Refracted in the western skies -
Emitting beams in shafts of shrouds
That rivet even hardened eyes,
Quick-born…at once to reach for sun
As if to make it static…there,
Deny that day is ever done,
Deny that night is anywhere,
Yet, only holding in their folds
Gossamer air…translucent…there -
The symbol meaning nothing holds
The night from coming everywhere.

Some pilgrims gazing at the sight,
Entranced by all its beauty rare,
Not thinking of the day or night,
Just yearn to own that scene so fair;
Yet…others look past fading light,
While wooed and warmed in its embrace,
To think beyond the certain night
Of dwelling in a tranquil place
Where sun and moon no light display
In constant brightness everywhere -
God's scriptured glory…endless day…
And pilgrim finds that…peace…is there.