Thursday, October 22, 2015

In the Shadow of the Memorial

Indianapolis has a long standing tradition of military service. There is a large mall in the centre of town dedicated to war memorials. This is one of the grandest, but the area of the war memorials (and now one path celebrating peace) is also home for the homeless.

Here's a prose poem --well, at least that's what I called it because I'm in a poetry class-- that I wrote about my recent walking in this area.

Downtown is the place of pillars and plaques and grand statues to others who believed in BIG things. I want to believe in BIG things but cannot help but notice that only the honoured dead sleep peacefully in marble surrounded by pillars with golden eagles atop. Homeless men sleep curled awkwardly on the cement steps beneath a giant brass urn out of sight of the eagles.
In the shadow of Scottish Rite Cathedral in the broad grassy space devoted to remembering war with the honoured dead and Blue Star highway marker and Avengers of the Bataan, I could hear the skirl of bagpipes on quiet Sunday afternoons. I liked the sound before I knew the word. Now there is a narrow thread of peace running through this neighbourhood of too much death. Homeless sleep here, too, perhaps more peacefully. This path remembers BIG things that did not require death. I walk more easily here, camera in hand, among the homeless waking to their day and the lean runners and pensioners strolling purposefully. The homeless and I have more leisure, both a step out of time and place.



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