by Darby Thorpe
June 1998

Every day I marvel at the life that is around me.
Everyday I grieve for the life that was.
I grieve for my own lost childhood.
I grieve for those loved ones who lost the battle before their time;
        whose bodies lie in the cold ground; whose graves I decorate.

Bigger than that, though, I grieve for the black man who was held in bondage;
        for the native American who was displaced from his home and his land
        by the white man "discovering" a country already inhabited.
I grieve for the millions of immigrants who came to this country following their dreams;
        who lived in squalor and were treated like animals.

I grieve for the rivers and lakes that were used as sewage dumps;
        for the children who were abused and exploited.
I grieve for the animals that were hunted to near extinction.
I grieve because we never seem to learn from our mistakes.
We live like there is no tomorrow when history has shown that tomorrow does come.
We waste water to make our lawns beautiful; we tear down beautiful old buildings
        to erect cold new buildings and then wonder what happened to the good old days.
I grieve for what progress and technology,
        no matter how well intentioned, have done to us.

I grieve for the small towns and farms lost to big business. When will it ever end? 
I grieve for six million people who suffered unthinkably before being annihilated.
I grieve and I grieve over all of our lost young people who gave their lives
        in a foreign jungle for a cause no one understood;
        in a war that ripped our country apart.
My tears are unending.
*     *     *
The author: Linda O'Brien Yaw (pen name: Darby Thorpe) PFC 1962–1964
attached to Base Comm CamLej. Retired from New York State Dept. of Social
Services. Resides in Rochester, NY.

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I Grieve