SOLDIERS PAST

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My best of friends are soldiers past,
The ones whose hair has grayed with age,
Meshed ‘tween today and memories;
I never quite grew up, for part
Of each remains within my heart
Meshed ‘tween today and memories,
The ones whose hair has grayed with age;
My best of friends are soldiers past.

Eric M. Vogt
from NORTH COUNTRY CALLS,
“The Coldest War”
Copyright 2014

A SOLDIER’S SKIN

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Some things trees don’t grow over.
They grow around.
The bark-sealed wire.
Swift burst of wind.
A cracked-off limb.

Some things a man’s never over.
The grave’s slight mound.
Love’s sharp desire.
A soldier’s skin.
Tall mountain’s climb.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017

BARREN LANDS

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In barren lands beset by war
we mourn the children by the score,
the homeless wrapped within a rag,
those slaughtered, thrown into a crag.
Yet somehow we forgot our own,
torn down where they have thrived and grown,
the last of frontier known to man
wiped out by cutter, plot and plan.
Look high, for Muir is here and mourns
for generations yet unborn.
The mountains make, here, their last stand
against the greediness of man.
The dead haunt every place we hike,
where we have sailed and where we bike.
Give voice to tree. Give voice to earth.
Give voice to countryside of birth.
Give voice to slaughter, and to war
that rages still, to kill by score.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

Lone Embrace

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Some peaks ascend beyond our reach,
Some dreams were never meant for touch;
Some hopes strain heart and soul too much.
Some seek a knowledge life can’t teach.

Some pray for years that shall not come,
Some wish for wonders far too high;
Some wait for wisdom from the sky.
Some want for peace when wars are done.

Some delve for pearls they cannot hold,
Some search for facts devoid of whys;
Some chase endeavors meant to die.
Some lean to lover—yet, not bold,

Prefer that lone embrace called Lie.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017

Glade of Green

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Each Mount has distant glade of green in stunted form,
Grown old from child’s age, yet not quite of the norm,
A piece of heart that’s splintered and a strip that’s torn,
The shard of long-forgotten winter’s day.

It’s place we hide ourselves, although the brush is bare,
To try to nurse a wound with balm of kiss and care,
And none can lie within it but the ones who dare
To climb and find this clearing, there to lay.

In life we have beginnings and we have our ends,
The twisting paths of lovers and the pass of friends,
But few shall come still close enough to help us mend,
To heal our hearts and in us always stay.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2017

WINTER’S HYMN

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The wind is howling through the trees,
And takes a few down to their knees.
It sounds as if the end of man
Has come, the downfall of our plans.

The gusts bring chill of winter, strong
To those who listen and who long
Its song, the chance to wipe the slate;
Yet it’s not time, nor is it date.

It’s Winter’s hymn; so seal your doors,
Pull out your comforter and store
Your summer clothes within the chest;
The goose goes south; hold to life, blessed.

The fire I’ve stoked, yes, come for tea.
We’ll speak a while of things to be;
Last leaves we’ll rake, then stow mistakes
Beneath each row of logs and make

A covenant this winter’s eve.
Let’s put away all that we grieve
And speak about those mountains climbed,
Yes, all the things we left behind

Us in the spring. Then let us bring
Our wreaths to lay and psalms to sing.
We’ll lay aside our soldier’s woes,
And with a whiskey warm our toes.

The winter can be warmed, you see.
Even the evergreens grow free.
We’ll bury brothers that we mourn,
And we’ll—together—ride the storm.

Soon spring shall come, the break of morn,
And we will live bit less forlorn.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016

ODE TO LANCE CORPORAL

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(And 240 others who died, October 23, 1983)

It’s funny how the dead peer through
Each blast of cold of all we knew
To make our memories more true
In curtained clarity.

He joined, as I did, hoisted gun,
We youths at best, our lives begun,
And thought it all might just be fun
In full sincerity.

Our uniforms were soiled as green,
And wills and wants were just as keen,
Our training made our muscles lean,
Yet one day leaner, he.

He died in first sound of a war
That has killed thousands by the score,
Yet his Two Hundred, lost of lore,
Lost to eternity.

I stood above his grave that year,
First saw his flag and then drew near;
Salute and sob he could not hear,
As silent as could be.

He sleeps within his barracks still,
And won’t awake, yet over hill
I see his colors, flying till
He stands eternally.

Eric M. Vogt
Copyright 2016