THERE IS A MONSTER and SPEAKING TO THE ROSE from James Goertel’s new poetry collection, Under The Same Moon, function as open letters – one to a young girl in Afghanistan, the other to a little boy in Western New York.
THERE IS A MONSTER (for Malala Yousafzai)
There is a monster
and its mask is the face of God
held up by the Devil’s hands.
It idles in the darkest shadows of a world
the heavens no longer wish
to count among their shine.
It brushes blood red
the infinite black canvas of eternity
where mankind has painted
its myriad religions as a means
to justify all its ends,
no matter their frightening, horrifying
absence of tolerance and compassion.
Our children have always known
the monster is real
but we are too afraid to tell them
their prayers no longer reach
any of a hundred Gods
we have conjured
not from our souls, but from weak minds
in a misguided, self-righteous effort
to absolve ourselves from true original sin:
not protecting them from that
which is more real than all our false idols,
for there is a monster.
SPEAKING TO THE ROSE
Walk along with me, carry your little boy feet
over rock-scattered trails where I have stumbled
and know me as I really am; there in my followed
footsteps you may in fact find your gray father
speaking to the stars, the dead, and the rose.