Green are the leaves that grow between birds Outside my window, playing hide and seek with the sky. And green are the last of my vineyard’s hopes too, Among rusty leaves, the last of a summer of grapes.
Green are my thoughts, the ones you see through my eyes – Is my soul green? I surely hope it still is. And green are the thoughts I keep in my heart, For they are not ripe-green yet.
For green is good, I think, As long as aplenty green things there are. The singular green frightens me, envious and cold, Therefore green is good in a bunch.
For green were the seas of my childhood tales Of maidens who could and princes who dared, a tad. And green were my teen years, When I thought I could do it all, like them.
Green are the spines on my bookshelves now, And a magic green pencil lays on my desk For the times inspiration fails me, I pick it and its energy handwrites me new tales.
Green are my hopes that end one more decade, And I think that’s pretty cool too. For green speaks of more springs to come, Of harvests of hopes, and a future in green.
If you enjoyed ‘Green Are… Poem and Photography from my Garden’ you might also like to read:
We need poets and poetry more than any time before, today when we are faced with a worldwide pandemic because poets have more heart in their hearts and more life in their poems than these are pandemic statistics released daily.
We need poets and poetry to help us escape from the present, apparate ourselves to a time where all is well with the world and amour’s heartbreak or the familiar in nature are enough to fill our daily thoughts.
Poetry, much like a warrior in disguise, is a shot of strength and optimism hidden under a shabby, fragile clothing.
In a time when the focus is on the outer world, poetry stirs emotions within ourselves, shifting our focus inward, even for a brief time; releasing emotions, tensions, and fears.
In a world focused on living inside walls, poetry brings back images of nature, this millennial reminder that, no matter what, life survives, life goes on, life is beautiful.
During a time when life seems to stand still, yet hours do stretch beyond the norm, leaving us out of tune with the passing of the day or of the week, poetry is the portal we can use to escape the cabin fever, the lockdown pressure, the endless thoughts and questions swimming in circles through our mind.
During times when life focuses on harsh reality, on stark colors, poetry is a lyrical rainbow. Like any color, perceived as a different shade by each individual, poetry leaves space to interpretation, something we do crave during times of pandemic, when scientists seem to be having it black on white. Death seems so technical these days, so sterile. Poetry is the colorful glass we can look through to connect with the world on an emotional level again.
Poetry ~ and books ~ are the only needed luxury during a pandemic.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a book cover surely tells an entire story, giving out clues to the unexpected secrets hidden inside the pages it guards.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of writing a guest post or lovely Jen Lucas, Book Reviewer & Blogger extraordinaire 🙂 about the secrets hidden in the book cover of Silent Heroes. Without giving much away, know that I wrote about a soldier and his dog, a sunset and a pair of mysterious Afghan eyes.
But there is more to an image, as the colors used hold symbols and learning about them opens the mind to more secrets hidden in that book cover, in plain sight.
The choice of red, brown and gold colors for the Silent Heroes image cover was not coincidental.
Brown and its hidden meanings in my book cover
Brown is a color I began to associate with the Afghan desert, its mountains, and the desert camouflage uniform of the US Marines.
Brown is the earth, solid, reliable, our home. It this context brown symbolizes stability, warmth, reliability. Mother Earth means fertility for all nations, it nurtures us all, no matter of the language we speak. Zuhause, acasa, tuis, a casa, sa bhaile, дома, בבית, doma… home is where we belong and brown is its soil, although in many tints: auburn, copper, russet, terracotta.
Yet brown is also a war color. Brown are the soldier’s uniforms, their faces, covered in dust, their vehicles and their sandy tracks, brown are their tents and the wrappers of their prepacked meals ready to eat, MREs.
And also brown are the deserted villages where the last of the Afghanistan’s wars still take place today. Brown are the ruins that ones stood tall, the walls that ones heard the laughter of a woman and the squeal of a child, the singing voice of a father and the whisper of the night.
Gold, guarding the treasured secrets of a book cover
Where is all the wealth, you will ask, for gold is for riches.
Gold is the sun, I answer, in it’s daily promise for new hope, new beginnings, of warmth and cheer. The sun’ golden light shares courage and wisdom; don’t we see the world as a better place on a sunny day? Don’t we find life’s problem’s more manageable on a bright day?
And gold also symbolizes compassion and wisdom. Compassion, like the one shared by many soldiers in the lines of duty. Wisdom, reflected in the life choices of many civilians caught in battles. To show commendation, we award soldiers a gold star, yet so many citizens are deserving of it. I know at least two in Silent Heroes.
Red, guarding life-threatening secrets
Red is assertive, it speaks of passion, of rage and strong emotions. I thought it represents best the tumultuous history of Afghanistan, with its countless wars and struggles for power. The many foreign leaders that fought to own this piece of land, the wrath and malice they brought along, but also the determination of the Afghan people, they desire to set themselves free from aliens, their passion for freedom. In this context, red speaks of the loss of human life, of sacrifice, of action.
Red is also packed with emotions like passion, love (of life, of one’s country), but also fury and a quick temper, like that of many Afghan warriors.
Red is one of the colors of the Afghanistan’s flag, where it symbolizes the blood shed by those who fought for the country’s independence, but also progress.
Music evokes vibrant images and these three tunes are only a few of the songs that remind me of the fighting Marines, the main characters from my book Silent Heroes. I mostly do my writing in a quiet space, listening to the words playing in my mind, but every so often I turn to music for inspiration, for its regular or progressive rhythm if I must describe a battle scene, or for the emotions it stirs when I am faced with a life-and-death situation.
Five Finger Death Punch – ‘Wrong Side Of Heaven’
This is a heart-wrenching musical video about the futility of war, its real, hideous face and the reality we choose not to acknowledge: that wars change – for the worst – the lives of all those involved in them, soldiers too. It was also one of the songs that also inspired me to write Silent Heroes.
‘Arms wide open I stand alone I’m no hero and I’m not made of stone Right or wrong I can hardly tell I’m on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell The wrong side of heaven and the righteous side, The righteous side of hell ‘
Although this song is about how shallow gossip is, I like the feeling of loneliness it evokes, the solitude of those caught under the spotlight. I think that soldiers, through the nature of their occupation, are under the spotlight, permanently in the news, yet very few spectators grasp the real meaning of their sacrifice.
‘And I’m talking to myself at night Because I can’t forget Back and forth through my mind Behind a cigarette And the message coming from my eyes Says leave it alone.’
Another one of the songs that inspired me when writing about the Marines in Silent Heroes is:
Prokofiev – ‘Dance of the Knights’
I listened to this song often when working on my battle scenes, although it is part of his Romeo and Juliet ballet. I found it strongly related to death. The loud, rhythmic beginning is very war-like in a dignifying way. The second, pianissimo part, speaks of the Angel of Death, but of the soldiers’ loneliness on the battlefield as well.
‘Dunn turned his head to respond. That’s when his whole body disappeared into a deafening blast of rocks, leaves, smoke, and blood. That day it rained with dirt. Conde felt his body thrown to the ground and he landed on his back, dirt in his mouth, dust all over his face. The wave had gone right through him. Behind him, everyone threw themselves around looking for cover, weapons at the ready. The dust was still settling on the road ahead when Conde jumped to his feet, yelling Dunn’s name. “Medic, over here!” He could taste blood and it smelled like charred flesh. Was he talking? He couldn’t hear himself, just a constant ring in his ears. “Medic, over here!” he yelled, again and again, wiping dust and water from his eyes and looking all over the ground for Dunn. The acrid air made him choke. It smelled of burned tyres and ammonia. Focus, Conde. Focus! Just ahead of him Dunn was laying on his back, legs sprawled, not moving. Conde felt his body freeze in panic. Was Dunn dead? Please, no! He forced himself to move ahead, his mind racing in circles, remembering what had to be done in a first aid combat situation. That’s when he heard Dunn moaning. Blood was sipping through his left leg. Dunn was trying to feel it, but his left hand was missing its fingers. Tourniquet! It flashed through Conde’s mind and his body snapped in motion, the Marine having tightened the first tourniquet around Dunn’s left leg before their medic arrived on the scene. “Easy, buddy, stay with me,” said Conde trying to see if Dunn’s eyes were open or closed but the blood and dust caking the fallen Marine’s face made things difficult. Conde felt like he was in a dream, the one where he would try to open his eyes as large as he could, still no image would form. Eventually, the white of Dunn’s eyes shone through. “We got you, buddy. We got you,” said the medic, feverishly wrapping combat gauze over the Marine’s hands. The white bandage looked like show balls against the bloody background. But not for long. “Don’t give up. I’ll beat you up if you dare giving up, Sarge! You hear me?!” Conde’s voice came out croaky. “Easy, Conde,” someone said nearby and Kent kneeled, helping hold Dunn’s hands upright. “Nice and easy.” “We got you, Dunn.” “Someone call MEDEVAC!” Conde yelled. “Easy, buddy. Already done. They’re on their way.” “Where’s a landing strip over here?” Conde wiped dust and water from his eyes again, leaving strikes of blood behind. “Damn rain! “Where are they going to land, Sarge? There is no freaking landing area here, only freaking trees! Damn trees!” the Marine panicked. “It’s okay, man. They’ll drop a cord for us, said Kent” ‘
These are the songs that remind me of the Marines depicted in Silent Heroes. Next time I’ll tell you about the songs I listened to to stir emotions rooted in the lives of the Afghan people.
The #MusicMonday meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You can pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I thoroughly enjoyed this blog feature on Mischenko’s lovely blog, ReadRantRockandroll .
Which songs inspire you? Which songs you find yourself returning to?
Welcome to Christmas Haiku!This December you can enjoy a winter themed haiku each day until Christmas Day. From the 25th of December I will post a super-special series of haiku on a humorous theme. My Christmas prezzie for YOU!Subscribe to my blog (newsletter sign up on the right column or beneath this post) and never miss a haiku with your morning coffee or favorite cuppa! MerryChristmas!
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