I am grateful to be a part of a spiritual movement designed to take our country back from the stomach of the empire which has swallowed it.
The Vietnam War began in November, 1955 and ended twenty years later in 1975. It was the last real war in the sense that American youth were conscripted from the general population and made to fight in a war that many of us believed should not have been fought.
(Now the empire employs mercenaries to fight its endless wars having figured out that the people would not tolerate their children coming home in coffins unless they were paid to put their young lives in danger.)
I was 20 in 1970 studying in London when I wrote “The Nakedness of Love”. I found the poem recently when I rummaged through boxes of my past.
Although the poem is somewhat dated with regard to sexuality issues that are now being resolved, the third scene dealing with our government and politics still rings true.
Scene 3: Act 1: Ashes are only ashes; Day is only day. Darkness always comes. It does no good to pray. The curtains will only open, they will never close. Man will become naked and refute all he knows. On stage the lights are very red and conceal but hands and heads. A group of people all huddle there while bombs and bullets fill the air. The noise is unbearable. Politician: The time for action has now arrived if we are to keep what we hold dear. Its now become a question of ideals. Can we continue to forsake our integrity? Shall we let them take our freedom? Blood, too much blood, has baptized our rights and damned their souls. It is time to fight. Soldier: Yes, he’s right. We can wait no longer. We must fight! We must fight as our forefathers fought and as their ancestors fought so we must fight so our sons will say that we have fought. Yes, dear God, we all must fight. (Now the people do shout and cheer. Surely, the will of God be here!) Politician: Let each person defend his rights! We can do it with collective might. Soon we shall fight when the guns are here. (No sooner does he say this than the guns appear.) Take a gun in your arms and cherish it because it will save you from the tyranny of their society. They will soon now approach. Shoot them quick we are above reproach. So take a gun now -- Your world to defend -- Don’t let these monsters our society end. (The people take their guns and hold them close and dear, almost like a god they love, but whom they fear. Bombs are sounding in the sky. Bullets blast through the air. People now exit with their guns leaving one man there. Alone, he stands upon the stage -- He sheds his clothes in a furious rage. He is the Man of another age.) Man: You ask me to defend when you give me nothing. A way of life you want me to preserve, when I cannot preserve my nakedness or even my love. You need the cover of darkness. I do not. I don’t have to defend your country. My country is within myself. (Quickly the darkness is gone As throughout the theatre lights flash on. Man still is naked against a lighted plain. Until everyone is gone, on stage he will remain.
We, as people, need to be grateful to our creator. Such gratitude is reflected by service to others.
The empire we live in today does not deserve our gratitude or respect because it puts the wants of the wealthy and powerful above the needs of the vast majority of people. Too many people are starving and homeless while pompous republican and democrat leaders pretend that everything is fine with the empire.
I am GRATEFUL to my higher power for the purpose He has given me now in my later years; notwithstanding that it might entail more pain than I might like. But the pain awakens me – to the need to continue to align my life toward the Greater Good. Memories of past battles bring realization that merely re-clothing the conflicts within will not resolve them. True peace and prosperity can only come when all the parts function together in harmony, unity and rhythm. Therein is hope, and healing, and sustenance for all who accept the invitation to God’s table. I am GRATEFUL that I still hear that invitation. God help me to respond.
A complete copy of my poem the Nakedness of Love can be found on my biography page by clicking on the poetry link and then the name of the poem.