The Wall

This is a poem that I wrote after my first trip to the wall in July, 1992.

In the darkness of the night,
we walked alone in our thoughts.

I stopped not to gaze upon Lincoln
in his magnificent chair, but
to catch my breath and wipe a tear.

Continuing down the dark walk,
vendors selling their wares to my right,
onward we walked, alone in the night.

Three men, standing tall and proud,
the guns in their hands silent...but loud.
Farther I walked, through the valley of names.

Photo of Three Soldiers
Three Soldiers, 1996
Copyright Keith Brown
I stopped, unable to see ahead.
I swallowed my fears, to the left I steered.
Three names I saw, two were friends,
one, his father I'd met.

Years of pain flooded in my brain,
the laughs, the cries of silence in my mind.
What do I do?
Twenty-two years of bitter memories flash.
Trying to maintain control, failing momentarily.

Silence is heard except for one demented woman
talking trash about all around her.
She angered me. What right does she have to complain?
As she lives, unlike the many names who so sadly
reflect the pain of thousands.

Moving Wall in Milton, 1995
Moving Wall in Milton, PA, 1995.
Copyright Keith Brown
Death means peace to those who are there.
Living means hell, agony, yet...
To enjoy the next sunrise as they may not.

Move on -- breathe the breath of life
and remember the dead as they would have
if they were the ones who were
doing the same as I.

Photo of Vietnam Memorial Wall
Reflections in the Vietnam Memorial Wall, 1996
copyright Keith Brown

Copyright July 1992, 1997
Photos and Poem
by Keith Brown

all rights reserved