Guest Poet Clarence Thompson

Armistice Day

Weapon in hand, I've got you covered
from the barricade of my still face,
though the Judge of all made peace 
between us
which I struggle to accept on this day,
a calendar away 
from Armistice Day.

You'd have me write 
on the treaty you offer me
the signature of my respect:
imitation, praise of all you are
and all you have done.
You seem surprised
as my cold eyes stare at you
from the bargaining table 
on this day, one day short
of Armistice Day.

Yet now I see that I can't change you.
Better to drop my reparation demands.
No option left but the blood-bought peace
made by the One who said,
"When you stand praying, forgive."
And from my knees I celebrate 
Armistice Day.

October, 1999

Clarence Thompson's Questions:

1. Technical: In the second stanza, should "one day short" have its own line? In stanza one, is the meaning of "the barricade of my still face" clear? 

2. Emotional: Is the meaning of the poem clear?  Does it have enough pathos?

3. General: Has anyone else had the sort of experience I describe in this poem?  Was the poem helpful?

Thank you very much!

The Albany Poetry Workshop