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The Dragon Jar

The Dragon Jar

What better place for fearsome beasts of fire
than airless thickets choked in green excesses
where weary soldiers stumble and aspire
for nothing more than living through the year?

Vast plantation harvests have all ended
death comes calling as soldiers ply their trade
row on row of rubber trees untended
now scarred by shrapnel not the sapper's blade.

Weeks of scratching foxholes in the hard-pan
and sleeping in the dirt before they're dead
fatigue and fear, they follow every man
into a tiny clearing, there to rest.

Nearby, highway one has little movement
save boom-boom girls on Honda motor bikes
who brave the free fire zones to pay the rent
where all conduct a business to lament.

Well shaded by a bent and threadbare tree
and encircled by a fence at clearing's edge
there stands a small platoon of pottery
as in formation, standing dress-right-dress

The soldiers, in passing pause to wonder
of jars too large to carry, filled with soil
left outside, devoid of human plunder
faux vases for the weeds that grow within.

One jar draws attention from the others,
it stands apart with glaze of earthen brown
outshining the dull clay of its brethren,
a dragon image reaching base to crown.

A soldier who has time for art admires
the jar's beauty, and incongruity,
and thoughtless of it's purpose he conspires
to make the dragon jar the spoils of war.

A fellow soldier helps tilt the vessel
they pour the rich, black soil out on the ground,
to be scattered by the arid winds of summer,
and walked on as the others gather 'round.

The Dragon Jar's inside a house in Brookland
it helps provide oriental decor,
near highway one, fertile dust is blowing,
and a soul is want to wander, evermore.
 

Copyright © Wayne Sapp | Year Posted 2016

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  1. Date: 4/16/2016 12:17:00 AM

    You caught it all...the good, the bad, and the ugly. I love the way you portrayed the paradox of art and beauty against war and death. "...and sleeping in the dirt before their dead" zinged my soul. Ouch. Good one and could certainly double up under Ballad for genre!
  1. Date: 4/13/2016 5:30:00 PM

    Well written Wayne..

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