May I Not Die in this Battle

by Debi Taylor-Hough

(Ephesian 6:11-17)

helmet on groundI am no soldier
and yet
the battle of life
found me

Here I lie
beaten
stabbed through the heart
my soul bleeding
Death circling silently
I feel its breath

This helmet
which should have been my salvation
brought meager protection
in this unexpected onslaught

My breastplate
in all its righteous glory
surprised me
by offering little protection
from the fire-laden arrows
of my enemies.

The sword in my hand
always so firm and sure
fell heavily to the ground
and lay still
I am too weak to raise it again

My shield
made of stretched hide
now moth-eaten
riddled with holes
its beauty and emblems
faded beyond recognition

These shoes
once rugged and sturdy
have worn through
I feel painfully each rock
each stone
each thistle
each step an agony

Oh, how I wish to walk in peace once again.

 

Pitifully — under
a great soldier’s helmet
a cricket sings

Matsuo Basho

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