War Dead Memorial Poetry and Reading Circle

We had a small gathering at the Iraq War Dead Memorial Field of Flags in Blue Hill on Saturday, Nov. 9.

The purpose was to gather in reflection on the costs of war and our visions of peace and to put the field to bed for the winter season.
Those present agreed that we should send out the poems to a wider circle, and they follow below (in random order). Not everything was available digitally; we may send out additional pieces when available.
In addition to poems, there were thoughts on the ever-expanding and corrosive spectre of militarism… and the value of community in supporting each other and sustaining our work for peace. It was a rewarding time.
Casey’s Prayer
Dear God

If you are there

Please if you will

Give me some air

With a breath or two
I know that
This miracle
could heal

maybe repair

And please if you will
Loan me

Not dirt

That covers me now
with fragments of strife
of anger
of hurt

But soft, sweet earth
the stuff of creation — of life


And please
How about some fire?
I think you’re good at that
if you are there

A cleansing blaze
of light and warmth

to make us one shiny piece
(to inspire)

We’ll toss our demons
on the pyre– 
Maybe I mean prayer

Most of all, for Christ’s sake

I’d like some water

to bathe the feet
of my dear soldier brother

— Canon fodder

as well the feet
of those called enemy — The Other

And if you do care

to wash away fear
(thinking of my mother)
and to replenish
her tears
with clear water
With this prayer.
by Peter Robbins (for Casey Sheehan)
Where prayers are effective,
springs gush forth and sequined fishes
swim over sand. Where crying works,
fishes swim over the sand to paupers, handing out hooks,
where crying works and prayers are heard.

Where Americans care
and drive to their fellowships,
trees shoot up out of slash to protect them
shading them gently. Gently shaded
from cancerous sunlight, new possums are born
from tire treads, where Americans care.

When we meet together
to sing holding hands in a circle
fish-full streetpeople leap from the shadows to join us
and sweet baby possums play at our feet.

by Jean Esteve, Waldport, Oregon


Are you saying that all the springs bubbling up, up and down Maine,
prove that prayers work, even absent sequined fish swimming on sand?
That if we just cry enough they would swim right over our shores
to the poor, delivering fish hooks? Then shall we pray?  And cry?

You declare that where Americans care, and wheel to fellowships to say so,
(Blue Hill Peace & Justice, for example) these shade trees will spring up
to protect against cancer and the tire tracks we leave will serve 
for animal babies to be born in. Oh, thank you for your dream! 

That when we come together to join hands and candles in circle, singing,
our homeless and hungry, warm and filled with fish, will dare appear 
and reach back, fuzzy and downy newborns playing at our feet.
Let us pray, and cry, to believe this.

by Pat Ranzoni, Bucksport, Maine
In appreciation for Jean Esteve’s “A Declaration of Faith”
from her collection, The Winter Sun (Turnstone Books of Oregon, 2013).


If we were ancient shamans

now would be the moment

we’d choose

to give you shelter

from the coming storm


But we are merely

survivors of suburbs and cities

not forest nor mountain

Modern men

offering you our silences

our words

to guide you going out on your own


Yet we have known for years now

that the silences of our fathers will not do


And we have known that words alone

cannot bleed you free

of your raging doubts


So listen up

to what we have found

between silences and words:


Open up your fists


Watch women move


Scorn uniforms


Don’t march



~ by Doug Rawlings





While I was kissing you,

far away, a bomb came through the roof

where a family was eating soup,

splashed blood against the walls,

along with bowls and spoons and bones

and splintered chairs,

and I was holding you beneath me,

while men and women ran down streets

away from fire, flying bricks and glass

and you were moaning,

reaching for my hair

and couldn’t hear the screams rising

through smoke and ash

while sirens shrieked,

and I was loving you,

our clothes thrown in wild abandon

while cries of madness came

from where a door once stood

and when we writhed in passion’s wake,

no one moved on the kitchen floor,

no one said goodbye.

by Arnold Greenberg

Jim Harney

A man of sorrows

who walked the way

to show us the faces

of those who touched

his life deeply and why.


A man of  compassion,

priest, prophet, photojournalist,

teacher, lover, friend needing us to be

vulnerable– to know the humanity

behind the faces in his photographs.


His life mattered to them

and to us as he walked the walk

and then when he could no

longer walk, he showed us a way

to die through his hunger– a way

that leads into the waiting arms

of the community of saints.

by Fran Truitt

  December 28, 2008





This entry was posted in HCCN. Bookmark the permalink.