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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016

Autumn Noelle Hall
Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, USA

Scarlet and Gold

October afternoon, a collar-brass sun about to pin itself to the ridge, just one gold aspen leaf dropping. A page in my book of days well-spent, putting the garden to bed, sweeping the flagstone path clean, so its mosaic can rickrack through the coming coverlet of snow.

bloody red
a last sunflower standing
sentinel to kin
fallen soldiers sheared
with hammer-and-anvil tactics

I am wearing my father’s old olive drab fatigue shirt, its Marine Corps logo fading into taps twilight on the left breast pocket. My husband teases me that its paint spatters and cuffed sleeves are hardly regulation. But neither is my long, graying hair or my flower-child attitude.

broad shoulders
settled just inside Dad’s seams
bleeding hearts
we both survived
his tours to Vietnam

I once enlisted
his Captain’s tenor
Where have all the flowers gone . . .
we soldiered on for peace

the irises
I planted for him, not red
not white, but blue flags
frost-nipped swords returning
to ploughshares . . . to earth

Author's Note: "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" was a protest song written and composed by Pete Seeger in 1955 and subsequently performed in the 1960's by groups including the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul & Mary.



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