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A Long Way To Run In This Cruelest of Months

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Phidippides
Two thousand and some years ago
ran all alone
on his forty thousand meter footfall from the fields of Marathon
to be the bearer
of the good news to the Athenians.
It is reported
that just before he dropped to his death
his closing words were
Nike! [Victory!] Joy to you.

On Patriot’s Day this time around
The rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Anno Domini April, 2013
when thousands of kinfolk ran as one
on their twenty six point two mile huzzah
from Hopkinton Commons to Copley Square
In the City of Boston,
It is reported and reported and reported
that each of us fell to a death of sorts
of grief, and rage, and question, and question and Question.
And for many, our last words were
We are lost. There is no victory; there is no joy.

And you know, I think
there may be no answer to The Question
and the police/and the FBI/and the thermal scanners/
and the DOD/and the CIA/and the bullet‐proof vests/
and the second amendment tea parties/and the lobbyists/
and the surveillance cameras/ and the tougher immigration laws/
and the wire‐tapping/and the finger pointing/
and the unmanned drones/and the well‐trained dogs
they may not be able, still, to come up with
The Answer.

For after we’ve done all that stuff
once, twice, several times over
and we’ve locked up or wiped out
a long, long kill list of bad guys
we still will be living in The Queries
And if you ask me, the only thing I can say
by way of response is
do your best
to welcome the stranger
and love your neighbor as yourself.

And if we stick around long enough
we may have a small chance
to spend the next two thousand years
together on this tiny, fragile
Mother Earth.

Robert E. Young lives in Virginia Beach, Va.

Posted in: April 2014: Education, Poetry

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