Self – A Birthday Earth Day Poem

It was cold when I was born, I am guessing

Though I do not remember, I am sure I was cold

Coming from the womb, pink and shivering

Ten pounds-eleven ounces of me, my mother’s sixth

And most difficult; all shoulders she said, and a big round head


I do not remember that sudden sharp breath


It was Earth Day, that Tuesday in April 

For some years before 1969, we called it Arbor Day

We honored trees on the 22nd day, of the 4th month

What tangible thing do we honor now

Earth-soil? Earth-planet? Earth-Mother


Taurus, the primal-bull


Roman soldiers worshipped Mithra as a god of light

Mithra who slew the sacred-bull, and laid the table

A feast for human-kind, I was born in a soldier’s place

West Point, I do not remember being there, but the name

Resounds with power, and victories no Roman could imagine


            The hallowed halls of War, the grim specter


Spring is the season of hope, and life, of expectation

Plowing, sewing, planting and the greening of the fields

April is a month of showers, of rain, and ritual-remembering

I was born eighty-nine days before Neil Armstrong flew

Rocketed to another world, and walked on the moon


What hopes drove our ships there?


What prayers drive soldiers to the stars?

I do not remember the moon landing, almost

Though I have seen, and heard it countless times;

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”

Watching men leap on the moon’s bright face


The celestial table for all too share,

Laid down in the year I was born


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