American Soldier

Vanquished anthem went the primeval rider; indeed, this
Soldier was not bred like the others, unfurled the black flag
That did enshroud the windswept moorings, where seraphic
Fireflies vanished, amidst the crying of blue angels in the
Sighing of the night; an ancient cataclysm thereon engulfed

By a zone primordial, as the citadel lay in ruins, thrice to
Undrowned dreams anon; a ghoulish undrawn mask that did
Strike down upon the brain, the harrowing causeway suddenly
Erupting into flames, flames that devoured worlds soon forgot;
He who was programmed for battle, and lost forever to the

Echoes of a shipwreck calling – devolving bloodlust wanton,
Surcease never – whereon the pain rained down and the dream
Lay fallen. Ride on, spectral warrior! Ride on, intractable men
Of Yorktown! Oh redoubtable men of Gettysburg! Through the
Ghosts of the Ardennes forest, through the haunted trenches

Of the Somme, through the illimitable jungles of Cambodia,
And the ghostly silence of My Lai, unto the black-robed widows
Of Baghdad, and the wraiths of Hiroshima; through the ashes
Of forgotten peasants, scattered on the plains of Laos; the
Haunted eye of the Lakota, engulfed in a pall of dreams unborn,

Beyond the barren plains of Kandahar; and the night cascaded
Upon a sea of sacrosanct stars, as the prairies dissolved and
The mind lay broken; headless horseman, child of Mars, once
More unto the ramparts duly won; he who struck his spurs into
A black charger, exploding into the unearthly fathomless forest,

Never to return, never to once more gaze on aught but war. Oh
Dread rider that can no longer see: when shall the suns reveal
The horrors of this cruel oblivion? Fires lay the ashes, ashes lay
The howling wolf unshorn; ride on Armageddon’s savior: with a
Sow’s head for a marriage bed, a vulture for thy sepulcher.

David Penner has taught English and ESL within the City University of New York and at Fordham. His articles on politics and health care have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Dr. Linda and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books: Faces of Manhattan Island, Faces of The New Economy, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: 321davidadam@gmail. Read other articles by David.