Poem: May I Not Die in this Battle


(Ephesian 6:11-17)

helmet on groundI am no soldier
and yet
the battle of life
found me

Here I lie
beaten
broken
bruised
stabbed through the heart
my soul bleeding
Death
circling silently
I feel his breath

This helmet
which should have been
my salvation
brings only meager protection
in this unexpected
onslaught

My breastplate
in all its righteous glory
surprises me
offering little protection
from the fire-laden arrows
of my enemies
of my children

The sword in my hand
so firm and sure
fell heavily to the ground
and now lays still
I am too weak
to raise it again

My shield
made of stretched hide
now moth-eaten
riddled with holes
useless
its beauty
and emblems
faded
beyond recognition

These shoes
once rugged and sturdy
now worn through
I feel painfully
each rock
each stone
each thistle
each step
each agony

Oh, how I wish to walk in peace again.

 

Pitifully — under
a great soldier’s helmet
a cricket sings

Matsuo Basho

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