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I have been to places of great death:
walking the battlefield at Gettysburg,
as a lusty young man of no firm belief
who stepped between the great rocks
of Devil's Den and felt his soul shudder
as though he had been a soldier there,
and died in fear a long, long time ago.

I taught my tongue to the gentle Khmers
as civil war raged and the killing fields
were being sown-- I left before the 
heartless murdering began, the killing
of over a million: teachers and students,
doctors and peasants, the old, the young,
each with a photo taken before dying,
their pictures taped to classroom walls.

And when I visited Hiroshima, now myself
chastened by death's touch, and knowing
my soul real, knowing of meaning absolute
and of unseen forces working good or ill,
as I stood at the first ground zero, I once
again shuddered to feel the pull of madness
(though I knew not if it was my own or some
remains of that evil which brought the fire 
and brimstone of a world wide war...).

But by then I knew I could pray, and so
opened my desperate heart and sought 
His mercy-- then I saw a sort of angel
who took me from that place of insanity,
healing me while we wandered by the 
beauty of the Inland Sea as my storm
calmed and left me, never to return....

I have been to places of great death, and
I have felt death's cold, careless hands.
Yet now I know what death itself fears:
the Light, the light eternal which carries
souls beyond time itself, like the winds
of a Love exceeding all understanding.

(written January, 2017)

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017

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Date: 10/8/2017 3:40:00 AM
LJ - sincere congratulations on your well-earned win, my friend, and blessings for more such recognition of your wonderful writing talents! Keep up the great work!
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L. J. Carber
Date: 10/8/2017 10:52:00 AM
Thank you Gregory, truly much appreciated!
Date: 10/7/2017 2:04:00 PM
I was truly moved by this piece and appreciate so much your entry into my Foreign travels contest. Congrats on your placement!
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Thvia Shetley
Date: 10/7/2017 4:11:00 PM
It wasn't exactly what I intended but one of the things I love about contest topics is they are open to poetic interpretation. Since there was actually Foreign Travel in this piece, and it was so moving, I had to place it high.
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L. J. Carber
Date: 10/7/2017 4:06:00 PM
Thank you very much for the honor-- I wasn't sure if it was the sort of 'travel' for which the contest was intended.
Date: 2/18/2017 1:13:00 PM
Powerful message in this poetry - the number of times we say "never again"! Congratulations Len! :-)
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L. J. Carber
Date: 2/19/2017 8:02:00 AM
Thank you, Mark, I very much appreciate your thoughtful words.
Date: 2/11/2017 1:45:00 PM
len, this is so intense it made my head spin! great poem...thank you and congrats :)-luloo
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L. J. Carber
Date: 2/12/2017 8:11:00 AM
Thank you Laura Loo--- those places made my soul spin!!!