U.S. Army Photo

Veteran’s Day Poem: Fallen

By Christi Ortiz

I tread tenderly this day
upon the thousands of fallen leaves,
aspen, oak, maple, birch
all shapes, sizes, and colors
like the millions of innumerable souls
that have gone before us,
transported to another place,
their remains lie here
in the belly of this earth
buried in the humus soil
that is both tomb and womb

As the path lay covered
in innumerable leaves
like a blanket of fallen soldiers,
I tread tenderly
weeping for their loss,
weeping for their loved ones,
for the pain and brokenness,
for the war and hatred,
for the prejudice and barricades
we place around our hearts,
our bodies, our homes,
our countries, our religions,
our politics, our ideologies,
our millions of identities

I tread tenderly
honoring each soldier’s
beauty and strength and story,
wishing I could hear each one’s tale
of wonder and of woe,
wishing I could honor their courage
and thank them for their living and their dying

I tread tenderly
knowing that although their remains lie
decomposing beneath my feet
fragile as the passing breeze,
that they are vibrantly alive right now
perhaps looking down
on this very same path I walk
praying for me just as I am praying for them
and together we join the chorus of creation
singing and praying and hoping and longing
fighting and enduring for a better future,
for peace,
for love to reign,
for hope to sweep her forceful power
through our weary, broken hearts
to rouse us yet again to keep on living,
to keep putting one foot in front of the other,
even if it is to tread
upon thousands of fallen souls
like leaves upon this path,
this journey that we all must take,
hoping, praying it leads us all home.

About Christi Ortiz

Christi Ortiz is a licensed marriage and family therapist by profession and a poet by passion.  She enjoys trying to put to words to that which is wordless and give voice to the dynamic and wild spiritual journey called life. She lives in Spokane with her husband and two children, Emmanuel and Grace. She loves the outdoors and meditating in the early mornings which gives rise to her poetry.

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