Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
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This may be Cindy Sostchen’s last column as poetry editor after many years of service to us with wit, creativity, and compassion. If it is indeed true, we wish you the best!
The poems in this issue seem to demonstrate the socio-political climate in our world today as a huge reflection of the turmoil we often feel within. Whether we are speaking of war-torn Europe during World War II or the current situation in the Middle East, it is clear that we need more voices speaking out in favor of peace. I am happy to report that the poets in our community are doing so!
For Just This One Time
By Daniel Porro
I hereby pledge my allegiance to all the people and their flags
And to unite all the nations
And for all the public to stand up
For all humanity
For the greater good
So if we blink there is no future
With liberty and justice
For all on Earth

Today
By Jerome Frank
Yesterday, I spoke of clouds.
Now, I speak of the sun.
Yesterday, I spoke of darkness.
Now, I speak of light.
Yesterday, I spoke of barren fields.
Now, I speak of boughs bent with fruit.
Yesterday, I spoke of yesterday.
Today, I speak of tomorrow.

Change of Mind
By Jerome Frank
My mind used to walk down park lanes,
swing with the leaves on the uppermost branches of the trees,
run with the little squirrels on the grass,
fly through the air with swooping, calling birds….
Now it walks down city streets where night is, even when the
sun shines,
with people dying on them,
giving up their lives bit by bit,
with every drenching rain that lays heavy on their backs
for days.
With every withering blast of summer heat.
With each leg ulcer that reaches the bone.
With every grind of viscera upon itself from empty meals.
With each misunderstanding mind that passes by.
With every stone-cold glance that greets their outstretched hands.
With each freezing night’s sleep, which could be death’s calling card.
With every unheard, ear-splitting cry for help that comes from silent lips.

Watered Down Weapons
By Gilbert Ortiz
I pray, hope and wish some day
that God Almighty will take all weapons of destruction
one by one turned into teardrops
Even a gun, like radar, sonar, laser beams, jets, tanks, submarines
From megaton h-bombs, napalm gas
all these lethal, ghastly weapons will kill you fast
too many generals not even housebroken
Virtual realities, computerized entities
All trying to figure out whose in charge
A lost infantry of souls from all wars past
World war that is and so many others
Lost lives, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers
And especially the little child
So innocent they are
So I hope and pray for the day that God above
will turn all weapons into teardrops
The teardrops become a river overflowing with waters of peace
So no harm can come to anyone anymore.

All Those Lovely Faces
By Cynthia S. Rayne
All those lovely faces are so near to me.
All those lovely faces are so dear to me.
Who they were or what they did
can only now be endlessly imagined.
See their portraits on the walls.
Such proud people one and all.
Gone now are their faces near and dear.
From all walks of life, close or far.
Hoping to fulfill destiny.
Men women and children too.
Not many spared in World War II.
But by Hitler would be broken and bent.
But yes, I vow to never forget.
All of their beautiful faces.
Some of them perhaps akin to me.
Having no idea who those people might be.
So far removed from liberty.
All their beautiful faces.
Treated worse than animals.
No food to eat, in filthy stalls.
But hope and faith they kept alive.
Though in the millions to eventually die.
If I was there I would have changed
the way things went to help sustain
all of their beautiful faces.
But here I sit as tears roll down.
Feeling guilty for what went wrong.
Their faces etched in my memory.
Those lives destroyed by demagoguery.
Though I close my eyes I still can see
all of their beautiful faces.
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