Pathways to Peace Blog
I was honored to hear poet and writer, Paul Hellweg, read his poems today at the Encino Library. He is a war veteran who fought in Vietnam and you can find some of his war poems online one of which is included below.
Bete Niore (the Black Beast) (poem)
By Paul Hellweg
3rd Platoon, L Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment,
17 August 1968.
Sitting atop a landmine, unheeding,
caring more about the staccato poppings
of machine guns, assault rifles, and
the occasional wham-bam-haven't-we-met-before concussion
of the lonely grenade,
shrapnel seeking human contact,
bullets craving fleshly embrace.
Choir off key,
someone tone deaf.
RPG coming in with a sigh
the landmine adds its voice to the chorus.
Fifteen feet up,
not comprehending beauty of cobalt sky
nor cotton-puff clouds,
my body cartwheels,
looking down into the belly of the black one,
gravity does what gravity must, and
I meet the beast,
maw open wide in greeting.
- Paul Hellweg
Paul Hellweg served with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment at Xuan Loc in 1968. He is a member of both Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and he is devoting his life to speaking out against war.
I had intended for this blog site to be used for sharing poetry and poetic expressions. I find myself feeling great sadness at the demise of Robin Williams and so choose to include something different this week. As a poet, I, like many of you out there who choose to actively engage with your creative lives, may know those dark depths that we oftentimes must step into and embrace in opening to the creative passions. (I am not denying that there are highly joyful places too and other ways to experience the dark places, but this blog focuses on the feeling of darkness that we can encounter and get lost in if not careful as something that feels lightless and inescapable.)
sorrow and happiness,
caution and remorse
Come upon us by turns,
with ever changing mood.
They come like music from hollows,
like wood when played by the wind,
or how mushrooms grow from the damp.
Daily and nightly they alternate within
but we cannot tell whence they spring.
Without these emotions I should not be.
Without me, they would have no instrument."
Click here to go to the website I found this poem on.