21 Gun Salute

They stood there,
silhouetted against the sunrise
and rifles aimed, at me
silhouetted against the velvet dark
of dawning and birth and being,
silhouetted against that red brick wall.

21 guns, barrels like unblinking eyes,
black, flat depths unblinking too
and peering from their graves
in grim unfeeling determination
to put me in my place,
put me in my grave,
put me back with them.

There are 3 bullets among them,
the 21 guns staring unblinking and grim,
and they comfort themselves with lies
that they do not know who has the bullets…
but I do, I know, I see
the silver winking bright
in the unblinking barrels

once (Father!)
twice (Forgive them!)
thrice (They know not what they do!)


And then the lightning struck
in those volleys of thunder raining down
over my ears as my eyes went bright
and my vision streaked red and silver
in terror and tragic tremour and
violent shuddery release.

It knocked me out of my shoes
and pinned my shadow against that
smooth red brick wall, now pitted
three times pitiless and gaping,
and I felt funny somehow, floating there,
hanging light and airy, somehow too light
without my shadow, crumpled
and remaining nailed
to brick and beam
by palm and palm and foot
and those empty shoes, kicked akimbo
by my eager rushing exit from that place.


Right under their noses!
I rose up unseen
while they stared on
in horror and resignation
except for the three
who leereed in hungry glee
and desperate jealous lusty thirst.
But for just a bit, I stayed,
to move from gun to gun
and kiss the barrels each one cold
(and 3 so hot and acrid)
and then I began to rise and leave,
when I heard some flat dead zombie voice say
“get that thing out of here and clean this mess up”.

I saw that it was one of them,
a former being who was
a current corporate walking dead
(but hey, see this company credit card?)
and dressed
in shoes and sunglasses
and lumpy
in the dawn’s early light
and I couldn’t tell
what was more offensive:
my shoes skewed
sideways and useless
or my shadow
pinned and unmoving?

I shed one celestial tear
and rose up on the sound
of 21 flat cracks still ringing
and I leapt graceful
on feet bare and light
from sounds of wrong
to sounds of ever right
and found my wings
midst the flurry of sound and fury
and flew away for good
to a 21 gun salute.


10 thoughts on “21 Gun Salute

  1. Wow! I ended up here because I was very moved by your comment on Frédéric’s blog…Poems and Poemes. I’m really happy I did!!! This is so very deep…I don’t know exactly what you have gone through…but this poem gives me a pretty good idea of what you feel about it! Brilliant writing! Thank you for sharing. ❤

    • Ohhh…you are so amazingly kind. Thank you sincerely. I think Frederic is an amazing amazing poet and am so blessed to somehow have found it.

      As to anything I have lived…let’s just say it is Redemption’s story lived thru my own particlar fractured lens, and is most likely best accessed thru leisurly perusal here at Grace Notes.

      Again, thank you so very kindly, your words were soothing in my soul.
      Blessings, Charissa

      • I have been walking around and just want to say thank you for your honesty…and integrity! There are times when you first read someone’s words and a giant movie is played in your mind…a movie of their life…and you feel it to be true. Your words have done this for me and I am very grateful to have landed here this morning! Have a beautiful day!

  2. Pingback: A Look Back That Inspires | Charissa's Grace Notes

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