Silent Watcher

I search the heavens for a twinkling star and find one,
only it is not a star;
It is an Air Force jet screaming through the night,
shattering Nature’s peaceful slumber.

I search the forest for sparkling eyes and find some,
only they are not eyes;
They are the headlights of a rumbling tank,
breaking the night’s quiet stillness with its thundering treads.

I strain my eyes to catch a glimpse of a shy night creature.
I listen in captivation for the sound of its tiny scurrying feet.
All is quiet;
Save the soft tread of soldiers’ boots.

An explosion.
A burst of gunfire.
Then all is quiet again.
Distant echoes are all that remain.

The war moves on and Nature’s children come out again
to frolic around the corpses.

(Journal Entry – May 12, 1986)



  1. The end reminds me of the old ballad ‘The Twa Corbies’, so hope you don’t mind me posting it:

    The Twa Corbies
    As I was walking all alane,
    I heard twa corbies making a mane;
    The tane unto the t’other say,
    ‘Where sall we gang and dine to-day?’
    ‘In behint yon auld fail dyke,
    I wot there lies a new slain knight;
    And naebody kens that he lies there,
    But his hawk, his hound, and lady fair.
    ‘His hound is to the hunting gane,
    His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame,
    His lady’s ta’en another mate,
    So we may mak our dinner sweet.
    ‘Ye’ll sit on his white hause-bane,
    And I’ll pike out his bonny blue een;
    Wi ae lock o his gowden hair
    We’ll, theek our nest when it grows bare.
    ‘Mony a one for him makes mane,
    But nane sall ken where he is gane;
    Oer his white banes, when they we bare,
    The wind sall blaw for evermair.’


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