Archive for May, 2009

May 24

Monuments and Statues

The poem below was birthed in 1995 based on a memory of a statue that stands in the eastern edge of Valley Forge Park. There is a Star Trek Voyager episode titled The Monument that I think of in relation to my poem. In that particular story, a centuries old civilization left behind a monument with the capability of providing a virtual experience of the event in anyone’s mind as if the battle were their own memory. Bravo to whoever came up with the idea, whether writer or producer. It is intriguing. You sure could breed some empathy with that machine.


The young boys scream
and fight each other. Wailing by tears
they cry continental pain. A regiment
with unrelenting blasts pierces the clogged ears
of the hanging air. Thick in frustrations
voices grope away from resolutions
and betray themselves explosive noise. Limitations
on simple minds delay solutions.

Where is the hand that feeds them? Hobbledehoys
rely on the mare to corral them clear of the clench
of the herd’s stampede. The young boys
fall away to silence (the wretched trench
calms fear) and mouths drop. Eyes, with convoys
of trooped vacuity rise upon the gray sky— appeals
to the Motherland. What shocked the impetuous
monsters into mocking statues? The metal feels
soft, no, smooth and righteous.

Anita Stienstra