Sonnet Challenge #11

We’re back to Eric in Ventura for a very interesting challenge, which brought back a memory too. The challenge was: “miniature lead soldiers that even Andrew Wyeth and H. G. Wells played with. ”

My first husband had these metal soldiers that he would play war games with his buddies on a Sunday.  He used to paint them in the colors that were appropriate to the armies they represented.  Seeing as he worked 6 days, I guess I was technically a war widow from the second day I was married.  On our wedding day, he’d disappeared at the reception; he’d discovered the bar had the soccer on the tv.  That day, Liverpool beat Manchester United 5-0 and it was the happiest day of his life, which apparently had little to do with the fact he’d just got married.  It’s ok, it’s so long ago now, I can laugh at this.

But I don’t think my exes soldiers were lead, so I turned to eBay for some inspiration. I found a listing for 11 battered lead soldiers, some missing arms that were made to swing in marching.

Lead soldiers

The 11 lead soldiers in an ebay listing that helped inspire the sonnet.

Lead Soldiers.

Once we were an army on the field

a green baize table all set out for war

(though none of us could figure out what for),

our generals, two boys, would sometimes yield

to calls from mother.  But until that time

we’d all be marched around and fire and drum

amidst their noise of battle, bomb and gun

and yells as some would ‘die’ along our line.

But they grew up and we were boxed for years,

swinging arms were lost, and many men;

our paint was chipped. Now down to just eleven

were rediscovered, sold as mercenaries.

We’re old, disabled.  War is not the same.

We’re just your heroes from a childhood’s game.

Advertisements

A little heavy poetry.

A note:  Where I grew up in Wales, during the Cold War, the time for nukes to reach us from Moscow was supposed to be four minutes.

Range

Within the upturned cerulean cup,
across the Wedgwood blue waves –
the milk-not-plain Chocolate Mountains.
Above, the bright October sun blinds us to
flashes of falling silver
dispensed from those brown-growling speedsters above.
We are too far to see
spiky gray instant clouds scattering
puthers of pulverized sand,
but the earth reports back to us
as shuddering ripples under our feet.

The bombing range is in use today.

It is night time now in another desert.
I wonder if Aleppo hears the gray jets’ approach –
do they carry on with their ecru lives
as do I, under these bombing runs,
wondering if they are in range,
knowing there is no place to hide,
like we carried on under the timescale
of the black cold war,
that four-minute range to white nuclear destruction –
not jet to hear, no future to hold
just gone in sunshine, releasing
the range of emotions we carried with us,
the thoughts and hopes we nevertheless hewed out
in our pastel lives.

But accidents happen within
the rainbow range of human possibilities;
a hop, a skip, a crimson heart beat,
a jumpy peach finger tip and we are all in range
of the friendly fire that
could rain down twenty miles too far west, upending
a Salton City day into the beige earth around us
and the cerulean cup above.