July, 1995

By Thomas Baynes

From the depths they have cried to us,
While we sit by rivers and weep
in remembrance of their tears.
Their silent howl deafens out our
empty courteous words and fears.

There upon Balkan valley floor,
does the elemental death dance
over wood-brown coffins shrouded
in grass green cloths, suffocating
the humble dead who hold their breath.

White skulls stained brown and drowned in an
ocean of fog and dirt and blood.
Eyes, hair, smiles, all consumed by hate
and by the black ignorant mud,
lost to the tragedy of fate.

Why then, this terror and this pain?
For some forgotten lord’s dead name?
Or the glory of ancient gods?
Twas hate breeding love caused stillness
to roar and blameless tears to rain.

No affirming flame can be lit
to banish the dark from our minds,
No romantic lie can be told
to ease the reality of
our past torpors and woes.

We can only awake now to
the mute alarm of their lament
and raise ourselves from inertia,
so never again we should fail
to hear the breathless dead exhale.