What is this thing we call peace,
The end of rumbling tanks and guns,
When silence falls on soldiers’ decease,
Those missing youths—daughters and sons?
Where old men (and women) stumble down the hall,
Mumbling about their mixed success,
Too busy to make a condolence call,
Seeing naught that they must confess.
Another season brings new flowers,
A quiet beauty to fill the space,
Nourished by sun and seasonal showers,
An aesthetic again shows her face.
Across the field is no more battle,
Iron and steel rust in rubble,
Old stories remain in quiet tattle,
Truth’s account, too, is but stubble.
Francis Conlon is a retired and recovering teacher. For the past 20 years, he has worked as a seasonal river ranger and boat inspector at Yampa River State Park in northwest Colorado. He has published in the local Valley Voice and in Westward Quarterly. He currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.